Origins Available: English
Bret is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England
with the Norman Conquest
of 1066. The Bret family lived in Brittany
. The surname Bret is based upon the Old French word Bret,
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
The surname Bret was first found in 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
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bret research.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
Endless 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
- Alfonso. Bret, who landed in America in 1890 CITATION[CLOSE]
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)
Contemporary Notables of the name Bret (post 1700)
- Anthony Bret (b. 1972), American television actor, and comic
- Ernst Bret, American stand-up comedian
- Iwan Bret (b. 1982), American voice actor and an illustrator
- Cardin Le Bret (1558-1655), French jurist
- David Bret (b. 1954), French-born British author of showbiz biographies
- Patrice Bret (b. 1971), French ski mountaineer