Brittan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Brittan is a name whose history on English soil dates back to the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066. The Brittan family lived in Essex. The name is a reference to the French province of Brettagne or Brittany. Families from this area largely consisted of the descendants of Celtic tribes who were originally forced to flee ancient Britain from the Roman Tyrant, Maximus, around 384 AD, and settled across the Channel. When the Romans left, the settlement remained, and carries the name to this day. From about 950 onwards, the Dukes of Brittany became closely related to the Dukes of Normandy, and even accompanied them at Hastings in 1066. Many of the Brettagne families who were granted land by William, Duke of Normandy had come in a complete circle, settling again on their former homeland in Powys, on the English- Welsh border.
Early Origins of the Brittan family
The surname Brittan was first found in Essex where they had been granted lands by King William for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
"The manor of Kenardington [in Kent] formed a portion of the lands assigned by William the Conqueror for the defence of Dover Castle, and came by marriage in the reign of George I. to the Breton family, with whom it has since remained. " 
The name occurred many times throughout the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273: John de Brytaygn in Cambridgeshire; Giffard le Bretun in Buckinghamshire; Hugo le Bretun in Suffolk and more. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Alicia de Britten; Elias de Britton; and Ricardus Britton. 
John le Breton (d. 1275), was Bishop of Hereford and was chosen bishop about Christmas 1268, being then a canon of Hereford, and was consecrated 2 June 1269. For about two years before this he was a justice of the king's court. He died 12 May 1275. 
Ranulph Brito or Le Breton (d. 1246), was Canon of St. Paul's and is first mentioned in the year 1221 as a chaplain of Hubert de Burgh. "During the administration of his patron he stood high in the favour of Henry III, and became the king's treasurer. " 
William Briton or Breton (d. 1356), was an early English "theologian, described as a Franciscan by all the literary biographers. No fact is known of his life." 
Early records of Warwickshire also found the family in the hamlet of Marston. "This place, anciently called Breton's Mannour, was held by Guido Breton in the reign of Henry IV.; the manor has since gone with that of Wolstan." 
Early History of the Brittan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brittan research. Another 259 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1164, 1273, 1273, 1296, 1275, 1545, 1626, 1499, 1607 and 1618 are included under the topic Early Brittan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Brittan Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Breton, Britain, Britayne, Briton, Brittain, Brittaine, Brittan, Britten, Brittenie, Brittin, Britting, Britton, Brittone, Brettain, Bretaine, Bretayne, Brettin, Bretin, Brettan, Brettinie, Brettony, Brittany, Brettany, Britteny, Brittiny and many more.
Early Notables of the Brittan family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John de Breton (died 1275), medieval Bishop of Hereford, royal justice and sheriff, generally attributed to the term "Britton," the earliest summary of the law of England, written in French; and Nicholas Breton (1545-1626), English poet and novelist, from an old family settled at Layer-Breton, Essex. "His grandfather, William Breton of Colchester, died in 1499, and was buried there in the monastery of St. John. His father, also William Breton, was a younger son, came...
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brittan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Brittan family to Ireland
Some of the Brittan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Brittan migration to New Zealand +
Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:
Brittan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- F.G. Brittan, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Merope' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 27th October 1870 
Contemporary Notables of the name Brittan (post 1700) +
- Harold Pemberton Brittan (1894-1964), English-born, American soccer center forward
- Stephan P. Brittan, American politician, Mayor of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, 1833-38 
- James A. Brittan, American Republican politician, Member of Wisconsin State Assembly from Rock County 3rd District, 1903-04 
- Sir Samuel Brittan (1933-2020), English journalist and author, first economics correspondent for the Financial Times, member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation
- Henry Brittan Willis (1810-1884), English landscape and animal painter
- Leon Brittan QC, PC, DL (b. 1939), Baron Brittan of Spennithorne, British barrister, politician
Historic Events for the Brittan family +
- Mr. Frederick John Henry Brittan, British Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking 
- Mr. Charles Edward Brittan, American Seaman Second Class from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking 
Related Stories +
The Brittan 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: Cassis tutissima virtus
Motto Translation: Virtue is the safest helmet.
- ^ 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)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
- ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
- ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
- ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html