Bretely History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Bretely is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in Lincolnshire, where they held estates in the village and parish of Bradley, and from which they derived their family name. The name refers to the local "broad ley" meaning "broad meadow" and for this there are many, many parishes, townships, hamlets with this name throughout England.  However, the first record of the name appears in the Poll Tax Records of Lincolnshire where William de Bradelai was listed in 1170. 
Early Origins of the Bretely family
The surname Bretely was first found in Lincolnshire. However, there are at least fifteen parishes and towns that have "Bradley" as part of their name throughout Britain.  Most are very small, but three of them date back to the Domesday Book of 1086: Bradley, Derbyshire (Braidelei); Bradley, Maiden Wiltshire (Bradelie) and Bradley in the Moors, Staffordshire (Bretlei.)  A reference to the family in the township of Wilpshire in Lancashire was also found. "This place appears to have been the property of the Braddylls, and of the monks of Whalley." 
Early spellings of the family were very different than those in use today as seen by early entries in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273: Robert de Bradeleye, Cambridgeshire; and Brice de Bradeleghe, Somerset. 
The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 also had early spellings: Willelmus Brodelegh; Agnes Brodelegh; and Agnes de Bradelay.
Kirby's Quest lists Richard de Bradleghe, Somerset, 1 Edward III and Henry de Bradleye, Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year's reign of King Edward III) 
Further to the north in Scotland, the family hails from "the lands of Braidlie in the barony of Hawick, Roxburghshire [where] John de Bradely rendered homage at Berwick in 1291 and William de Bradeleye of the county of Roxburghe rendered homage in 1296. The seal of William is a curious one, bearing a tree supported by two hares, the dexter one beating a cymbal or drum, the sinister playing a pipe; bird in top, a dog coiled at base, and legend S' Will'i de Bradeley." 
Early History of the Bretely family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bretely research. Another 99 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1596, 1673, 1628, 1616, 1620, 1627, 1629, 1693, 1762, 1678, 1693, 1732 and are included under the topic Early Bretely History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bretely Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Bretely are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Bretely include: Bradley, Bradlie, Bradleigh, Bradly, Bradeley and others.
Early Notables of the Bretely family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Francis Bradley; and Thomas Bradley (ca.1596-1673), English chaplain to George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham and later Chaplain to King Charles I (1628.) "He became a battler of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1616, and proceeded B.A. on 21 July 1620. He was chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham for several years, and accompanied him in the expedition to Rochelle and the Isle of Rhé in 1627. After Buckingham's murder in the following year he became chaplain to Charles I, and on 16 June 1629 a captain in the expedition...
Another 98 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bretely Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bretely family to Ireland
Some of the Bretely family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 119 words (8 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 Bretely family
Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Bretely or a variant listed above: Ann Bradley who settled in Nevis in 1654; Bartholomew Bradley settled in Virginia in 1650; George Bradley settled in Barbados in 1684; Richard Bradley settled in Maryland in 1634.
Related Stories +
The Bretely 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: Vigilance et audax
Motto Translation: Vigilant and bold.
- ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)