Brightwele History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The origins of the Brightwele name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived in either of the settlements named Brightwell in Berkshire or Suffolk, or in the place called Brightwell Baldwin in Oxfordshire.
Early Origins of the Brightwele family
The surname Brightwele was first found in Oxfordshire, where the name is associated with the village of Brightwell Baldwin. In the Domesday Book survey of 1086 Brightwell Baldwin was recorded as lands held by William the Conqueror and the Bishop of Bayeux. During the 11th century it was the site of a mill. Robert de Brictewell was registered in Oxfordshire in 1205. Brightwell Castle was built in 1145 by King Stephen in the village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, but was destroyed in 1153 by his cousin Matilda's son during a civil war. He would later become known as King Henry II.
Years later, Thomas Bryghtwell or Brythwell (d. 1390), was a fellow of Merton College, Oxford and is chiefly known in connection with the proceedings against Wycliffe's followers taken at the council of Blackfriars in London in 1382. 
Early History of the Brightwele family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brightwele research. Another 226 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1221, 1273, 1439, 1500, 1675, 1787, 1806, 1811, 1388 and 1390 are included under the topic Early Brightwele History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Brightwele Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Brightwele were recorded, including Brightwell, Brightwelle, Britewell, Brihtwell, Brictewell, Brichtewell, Brichwell and many more.
Early Notables of the Brightwele family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Brightwele Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Brightwele family to Ireland
Some of the Brightwele family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Brightwele family
To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Brightwele family emigrate to North America: John Brightwell, who settled in Nova Scotia in 1749.
- Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print