Brownfield History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Brownfield family has descended through the lines of the ancient Normans that came to England following their Conquest of England in 1066. The Brownfield name reveals that an early member was 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 Brownfield family

The surname Brownfield was first found in Cumberland, where the Brownfield 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 Brownfield family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brownfield 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 Brownfield History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brownfield Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Brownfield has been recorded under many different variations, including Brown, Broun, Brun and others.

Early Notables of the Brownfield 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 Brownfield Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brownfield Ranking

In the United States, the name Brownfield is the 7,550th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Brownfield family to Ireland

Some of the Brownfield 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.


United States Brownfield migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Brownfields were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Brownfield Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joe Brownfield, who settled in Georgia in 1735 with his wife
  • John Brownfield, who landed in Georgia in 1735 [9]
  • James Brownfield, who settled in Georgia in 1745
Brownfield Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Reynold Brownfield, aged 24, who arrived in America from London, England, in 1910
  • Robert L. Brownfield, aged 31, who arrived in America, in 1910
  • Alfred Brownfield, aged 37, who arrived in America, in 1917
  • Bert Brownfield, aged 23, who arrived in America, in 1917
  • Dorothy Brownfield, aged 18, who arrived in America, in 1920
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Brownfield migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Brownfield Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Mable Brownfield, aged 33, who arrived in Kingston, Ont., Canada, in 1913
  • Marjory Brownfield, aged 23, who arrived in Kingston, Ont., Canada, in 1913

Contemporary Notables of the name Brownfield (post 1700) +

  • Troy Brownfield, American comic book writer, journalist, and college professor
  • William R. Brownfield (b. 1952), American Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (2011), former Ambassador to Colombia, Chile and Venezuela
  • Louisa Brownfield (b. 1984), birth name Louisa Brownfield, an English three-time bronze medalist netball player
  • Major-General Harold Oswald Neville Brownfield (1894-1958), Head of the Canadian Joint Staff in Washington (1946-1947) [10]


The Brownfield 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. ^ Lower, 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)
  8. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  9. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  10. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, September 15) Harold Brownfield. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Brownfield/Harold_Oswald_Neville/Canada.html


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