Briews History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Briews came to England with the ancestors of the Briews family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Briews family lived in Normandy. The exact location of the place from which the family name is derived is under dispute, as one may perhaps expect of such a prominent name. The traditional interpretation is that the name is derived from the place-name Brix, in La Manche. It is argued, however, that there is no real evidence in support of this, and that the name is actually derived from the place-name Le Brus, in Calvados. A surname based upon an already existing place-name is called a habitation name.
Early Origins of the Briews family
The surname Briews was first found in Yorkshire where early record of the family found them at Middlesbrough, a town and parish, on the river Tees. "This place, at a very early period, had a chapel dedicated to St. Hilda, which, in the reign of Henry I., was granted by Robert de Brus to the monks of Whitby Abbey, on condition of their founding here a cell to that monastery; this condition was fulfilled, and the institution that was established continued to flourish till the Dissolution." 
Skelton in the West Riding of Yorkshire held a special significance to the ancient family. "This place was given at the Conquest to Robert de Brus, a Norman Baron who came over with William, and who erected a castle here, of which scarcely any vestiges remain, the whole having been modernised in 1794. From this baron descended some of the kings of Scotland, and the present family of Bruce, marquesses of Ailesbury. The ancient manor [of Skinningrove] belonged to the Bruces, lords of Skelton, and came by marriage to the Thwengs, of Kilton." 
In the North Riding of Yorkshire at Liverton, other early records of the family were found. "This place, which at the time of the Domesday Survey was a barren and unprofitable waste, was granted by the Conqueror to Robert de Brus, lord of Skelton." 
Robert I de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale (c.1070-1142) was the first of the Bruce family to hold lands in Scotland. He founded Gisborough Priory in Yorkshire, in present-day Redcar and Cleveland, in 1119. Close friends with David FitzMalcolm, later known as King David I of Scotland, he was granted extensive lands in he Cotentin Peninsula c. 1120.
William de Broase (d. 1211), was a "rebel Baron, the descendant and heir of William de Braose (alias Braiose, Breause, Brehus, &c.), Lord of Braose, near Falaise in Normandy, who had received great estates in England at the Conquest. The family fixed their seat at Bramber in Sussex, and were lords of its appendant rape. " 
Early History of the Briews family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Briews research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1274, 1329 and are included under the topic Early Briews History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Briews Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Briews are characterized by many spelling variations. 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. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Briews include Bruce, Brus (Gaelic), Bruys, Bruse and others.
Early Notables of the Briews family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Robert Bruce (1274-1329), King of Scotland. His body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey. His embalmed...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Briews Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Briews family to Ireland
Some of the Briews family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 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 Briews family
Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Briews, or a variant listed above: Alexander Bruce who settled in Virginia in 1716; James Bruce settled in South Carolina in 1716; Richard Bruce settled in Virginia in 1650; James Bruce settled in New York City with his wife Janet and ten children in 1775.
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- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print