Briwes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The history of the Briwes family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They 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 Briwes family
The surname Briwes 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. " 
Important Dates for the Briwes family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Briwes research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1274, 1329 and are included under the topic Early Briwes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Briwes Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Bruce, Brus (Gaelic), Bruys, Bruse and others.
Early Notables of the Briwes 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 Briwes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Briwes family to Ireland
Some of the Briwes 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 Briwes family
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Briwes name or one of its variants: 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.
- ^ 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