Brownfeld History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient name Brownfeld is a Norman name that would have been developed in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. This name was a name given to a person who has brown hair or brown eyes, or dresses habitually in brown. [1]

The name springs from similar roots in Old English, Old English, Old Norse, Old French, Old German. It is also possible that a given instance of the name is derived from a short form of an Old English personal name such as Brunwine or Brungar.

Early Origins of the Brownfeld family

The surname Brownfeld was first found in Cumberland, where the Brownfeld family held a family seat and claim descent from Le Brun in Normandy, who was granted many estates there soon after the Conquest. However, many of the family remained in Normandy where Gilbert and William le Brun were listed in 1185 according to the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae. [2]

"This ancient and wide-spreading name, which occurs in early writings in a great variety of forms, as Le Brun, de Bron, Broun, Brune, Brunn, &c., stands 50th on the Battle Roll, and has the peculiar distinction of having produced twenty-one different families in the United Kingdom, who have received from the Sovereign hereditary titles of Nobility." [3]

"As Le Brun or Brunnus, it frequently occurs in the Norman Exchequer Rolls of the twelfth century, and is several times written in Domesday Book. William le Brun held in Suffolk; and Bruno (perhaps the same) in Warwickshire: besides "Brun Presbyter" in Oxfordshire. [4]

"Of these, the most considerable-that of the Viscounts Montague-was an offset of the great Norman house of La Ferte, who held the barony of La Ferte (now La Ferte Fresnel) near Evreux. Hugh de la Ferte is mentioned by Wace at Hastings. Richard de la Ferte accompanied Robert of Normandy to Palestine in 1096, and his youngest son, Gamel, surnamed Le Brun (according to family tradition to distinguish him from a brother called Le Blond), settled in Cumberland, where he had baronial grants from Waldeve FitzGospatric, and his descendants long flourished, the name gradually changing to Broyne, Broun, or Browne." [4]

Some of the family were found at early times at Tacolneston in Norfolk where they held estates. "The Hall, a fine brick mansion, is a good specimen of the domestic style prevalent in the 17th century; it is said to have been built in 1670, by the Browne family, who then held the estate." [5]

Another branch was found in the parish of Thrigby, again in Norfolk. "The principal part [of Thrigby] belongs to Thomas Browne, Esq., who resides at the Hall, a neat mansion of white brick." [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 eludes to the use of the name in a variety of early spelling and as a forename and surname: Brun Ednth, Salop; Matilda relicta Brun, Oxfordshire; and Brune relicta Johannis, Cambridgeshire; Hugh le Brun, Suffolk; Robert le Brun, Buckinghamshire; and Johanna la Brune, Oxfordshire. [6]

Up north in Scotland, the family are generally though to have migrated there from Cumberland. "Gamel, son of Brun came into possession of Bothel (now Boode) in the time of Henry I (1100-1135). Gilchrist, son of Bruun witnessed a charter by R. son of Dunegal to the Hospital of S. Peter of York c. 1136, Patric Brun witnessed resignation of land of Weremundebi (Warmanbie in Annandale) and Anant between 1194-1214. Ricardus Brun witnessed a charter by Ebrardus de Penkathleht (Pencaitland near Edinburgh) to the church of S. Cuthbert of Durham in the reign of William the Lion. Several individuals of this name are recorded in the thirteenth century, but what connection, if any, existed between them is not known." [7]

Early History of the Brownfeld family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brownfeld research. Another 99 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1443, 1506, 1610, 1669, 1605, 1682, 1610, 1682, 1605, 1682, 1641, 1660, 1634, 1684, 1660, 1661, 1616, 1685, 1661, 1626, 1690, 1659, 1688, 1598, 1668, 1642, 1702, 1685, 1735, 1721 and are included under the topic Early Brownfeld History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brownfeld Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Brown, Broun, Brun and others.

Early Notables of the Brownfeld family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Anthony Browne (1443-1506), during the reign of King Henry VII, he was Standard Bearer of England, Governor of Queenborough Castle, and Constable of Calais; Sir Richard Browne, 1st Baronet (ca. 1610-1669), English Major-General in the English Parliamentary Army during the English Civil War and later Lord Mayor of London; Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), an English author; Francis Browne, 3rd Viscount Montagu (1610-1682); Sir Richard Browne, 1st Baronet of Deptford (ca. 1605-1682), an English ambassador to the court of France at Paris from 1641 to 1660; Sir Richard Browne, 2nd Baronet (ca.1634-1684), English...
Another 116 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brownfeld Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Brownfeld family to Ireland

Some of the Brownfeld family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 68 words (5 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 Brownfeld family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Brownfeld or a variant listed above: Abigail Brown, who settled in Maryland in 1668; Alex Brown, who immigrated to Boston in 1763; Richard Brown, who came to Maryland in 1774; Hugh Brown and his wife Margory, who emigrated from Scotland to Philadelphia in 1775.



The Brownfeld 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: Floreat majestas
Motto Translation: Let majesty flourish


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)


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