Origins Available: English, French, German
England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bret family lived in Brittany. The surname Bret is based upon the Old French word Bret, nominally Brito the nominative case of the word Breton which meant a Breton. "The Domesday Book abounds with Brito as a surname. No less than seven persons bearing it were tenants in chief in many counties." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
Early Origins of the Bret family
Somerset at Samford (Sampford) Brett, a village and civil parish which dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was listed simply as Sanford. CITATION[CLOSE]
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8) By 1306, the village was known as Saunford Bret. CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4) This was the lordship of Hugo Brito, (Sir Richard le Breton or Richard de Brito), son of Simon le Bret or Simon Brito, one of the four knights who murdered Saint Thomas Becket (Thomas à Becket) in 1170. Over in Dorset in the parish of Holwell, another branch of the family was found. "Here stood the principal lodge of the ancient forest of Blackmore, which William de Bret and his successors held by service as the king's forester in Blackmore; the office became extinct when the district was disafforested." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Bret family
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1677, 1587, 1674, 1640, 1644, 1309 and 1317 are included under the topic Early Bret History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bret Spelling Variations
spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Brett, Britt, Bret, Brit and others.
Early Notables of the Bret family (pre 1700)
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bret Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bret family to Ireland
Some of the Bret family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bret family to the New World and Oceana
To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Bret or a variant listed above:
Bret Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Contemporary Notables of the name Bret (post 1700)
Bret Family Crest Products