Brettell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Brettell family

The surname Brettell was first found in Hereford where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of many lands and domains who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086. The family is descended from Roger de Breteuil, son of William FitzOsbern, a great Norman Earl. Roger became Earl of Hereford sometime before the Conquest, rebelled against Duke William in 1075, lost his lands, and died in prison. Nevertheless, his kin continued to hold domains in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Salop.

Early History of the Brettell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brettell research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 190 and 1904 are included under the topic Early Brettell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brettell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Brettell, Bretell, Bretel, Breteuil, Bretull, Britell, Breteel, Breteal, Britill, Brettle, Brittle, Bretale, Brettale and many more.

Early Notables of the Brettell family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Brettell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Brettell family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..


Contemporary Notables of the name Brettell (post 1700) +

  • John B Brettell, American World War I US army officer
  • Jacob Brettell (1793-1862), English Unitarian minister, born at Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, on 16 April 1793 [2]
  • Frank Brettell, English footballer, manager of Tottenham Hotspur (1897-1898)
  • Edward Gordon Brettell (1915-1944), British Royal Air Force Spitfire pilot and prisoner of war, executed after being recaptured after the "Great Escape" from Stalag Luft III in March 1944, one of the fifty shot by the Gestapo


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 5 Feb. 2019


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