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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Brittany is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Brittany 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.
The surname Brittany 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 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. 
Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Brittany family name include 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.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brittany research. Another 517 words (37 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1164, 1273, 1296, 1545, and 1626 are included under the topic Early Brittany History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 93 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brittany Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Brittany family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Brittany family to immigrate North America: Widow Breton and son who settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1732; J. Breton settled in New Orleans in 1820; Elizabeth Breton settled in New York in 1820.
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.
The Brittany Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Brittany Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 27 July 2011 at 14:22.