Brereton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Brereton reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Brereton family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Brereton family lived in Staffordshire. They lived in this area on estates at Brereton Manor, from which they took their name. Other records show that Brearton was a village in the parish of Knaresborough in Yorkshire and Brereton was a village three miles from Sandbach, Chester.

"One of the great Cheshire families who can be proved to have existed at or near the time of the Conquest, and are yet unnoticed in [the] Domesday [Book]. They came over with the Conqueror, in the train of Hugh Lupus, with Gilbert de Venables to whom they are apparently related, and settled at Brereton, from which place the name was assumed as early as temp. William Rufus. " [1]

Early Origins of the Brereton family

The surname Brereton was first found in Cheshire at Brereton, a civil parish, containing the hamlets of Brereton Green and Brereton Heath. Brereton dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Bretone and literally meant "farmstead amongst the briars," having derived from the Old English words brer + dun. [2] At that time, Gilbert de Venables held the lands of Brereton which was large enough for 4 ploughs and held 1 acre of meadow. [3]

Brereton Hall, built for Sir William Brereton (1550-1631) is a country house north of the village of Brereton Green.

Alternatively, the name could have been derived from Brearton, a village and civil parish in the Harrogate borough of North Yorkshire. In this case, the place name dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Braretone [3] having derived from the same literal origin as the aforementioned Brereton.

Further north and east, Brierton is a township, in the parish of Stranton, union of Stockton-upon-Tees, North East division of Stockton ward, South division of the county of Durham. While one would presume that the township was related to the family, "the manor belonged from the earliest date of the records to the family of Graystock. It afterwards passed to the Dacres." [4]

Early History of the Brereton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brereton research. Another 104 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1550, 1631, 1604, 1661, 1611, 1664, 1661, 1664, 1631, 1680, 1659, 1718, 1691 and 1722 are included under the topic Early Brereton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brereton Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Brereton, Breereton, Breeretoun, Breeretoune, Breriton and many more.

Early Notables of the Brereton family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Lord Brereton of Carlaw; Sir William Brereton of Brereton, 1st Lord of Laghlin (1550-1631); Sir William Brereton, 1st Baronet Brerton (1604-1661), English soldier, politician, and writer, Commander-in-Chief for Parliament's army during the English Civil War; William Brereton, 2nd Baron Brereton (1611-1664), an...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brereton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Brereton family to Ireland

Some of the Brereton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Brereton migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Brereton name or one of its variants:

Brereton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Brereton, who settled in Maine in 1602
  • John Brereton, who arrived in Virginia in 1602 [5]
  • Geo Brereton, who landed in Virginia in 1695 [5]
Brereton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J T Brereton, who landed in Alaska in 1898 [5]

Australia Brereton migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Brereton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Brereton, a harness-maker, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Miss Sarah Brereton, English convict who was convicted in Chester, Cheshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Buffalo" on 4th May 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. John Brereton, English convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Equestrian" on 25th January 1844, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [7]
  • Henry Brereton, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Competitor" in 1848 [8]
  • Thomas Brereton, aged 27, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Charlotte Jane" [9]

West Indies Brereton migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [10]
Brereton Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • John Brereton who settled in Barbados in 1654

Contemporary Notables of the name Brereton (post 1700) +

  • Lieutenant-General Lewis Hyde Brereton (1890-1967), American Secretary General of the Air Board, Washington, D.C. (1948) [11]
  • Peirce H. Brereton, American Republican politician, Mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island, 1933-34 [12]
  • Henry E. H. Brereton, American Republican politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Warren County, 1911-17; Member of New York State Senate 33rd District, 1927-32; Chair of Warren County Republican Party, 1929 [12]
  • Frederic C. Brereton, American politician, Mayor of Belvidere, Illinois, 2007-11 [12]
  • Owen Salusbury Brereton (1715-1798), English antiquary, son of Thomas Brereton, owner of Shotwick Park, Cheshire [13]
  • Sir William Brereton (1789-1864), British Lieutenant-General and Colonel-Commandant 4th brigade Royal Artillery, descended from the very ancient Cheshire family of Brereton of Brereton Hall [13]
  • Thomas Brereton (1782-1831), Irish Lieutenant-Colonel from King's County, Ireland who led the Dragoons against the rioters during the Bristol Riots [13]
  • Laurence John "Laurie" Brereton (b. 1946), Australian politician, member of the Australian House of Representatives from March 1990 to October 2004
  • Sergeant Alexander Picton Brereton (1892-1976), Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces [14]
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Armine Brereton Dew KCIE, CSI (1867-1941), British Indian Army officer and administrator in British India

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. George Andrew Brereton, (alias George A. Brayton), aged 37, American First Class passenger from Los Angeles, USA who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 9 [15]

The Brereton Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Opitulante Deo
Motto Translation: By God’s help.

  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 4th May 2022).
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) COMPETITOR 1848. Retrieved from
  9. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CHARLOTTE JANE 1852. Retrieved
  10. ^
  11. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 3) Lewis Brereton. Retrieved from
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from
  13. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 5 Feb. 2019
  14. ^ Alexander Brereton. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Alexander Brereton. Retrieved from
  15. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook