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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The illustrious surname Bruton is classified as a habitation surname, which was originally derived from a place-name, and is one form of surname belonging to a broader group called hereditary surnames. Habitation names were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Topographic names, form the other broad category of surnames that was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree.

Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. Bruton is a place-name from in Breton. Bruton is a southern English corruption of the name Breton, which denoted a person who came from Brittany, in France. This type of name is called a local surname, which comes from the broad category of hereditary surnames. Local names were usually adopted from the name of the place where an ancestor had once lived. The name came to England with the Norman Conquest in 1066; Alain de Breton was a noble who accompanied Duke William on his successful conquest of England. His sons, Roger and Thomas le Breton, were granted lordships in Somerset. Their name has become a permanent part of the county of Somerset; the village of Bruton derives its name from this family. The place-name Bruton further served as a source for the surnames of some of the people who lived there. In this way did occupants of a small town in southern England become named after a province of France.


The surname Bruton was first found in Somerset and Devon where, in the latter county Auvrai le Breton held twenty two lordships granted to him by William the Conqueror for his service at Hastings in 1066 A.D. Roger and Thomas le Breton, his successors, were granted lordships in Somerset. Bruton was listed in the Domesday Book as Briwetone, [1] and literally meant "farmstead on the River Brue," the latter Celtic word meant "brisk." Combined it meant, "farmstead on the brisk running river." [2] The Hundred of Bruton is one of the 40 hundreds in Somerset and was a relatively small hundred, covering approximately 14,250 acres.

Since the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules, Breton surnames have many spelling variations. Latin and French, which were the official court languages, were also influential on the spelling of surnames. The spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. Therefore, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England after the Norman Conquest, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Bruton, Breton, Brutyn, Brutten, Brutone, Brewton, Brutown, Brewtowne, Bretown and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bruton research. Another 449 words (32 lines of text) covering the years 106 and 1066 are included under the topic Early Bruton History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Bruton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Bruton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 47 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Bruton, or a variant listed above:

Bruton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • William Bruton, aged 22, arrived in St Christopher in 1634
  • William Bruton, his wife Mary, and his son Robert who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Jon Bruton, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward Bruton, who arrived in Virginia in 1637
  • Sarah Bruton, who landed in Maryland in 1662

Bruton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Charles Bruton, aged 32, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849
  • Ellen Bruton, aged 32, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849
  • James Bruton, aged 12, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849
  • George Bruton, aged 10, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849
  • William Bruton, aged 7, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849

Bruton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Bruton a baker, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir George Grey" in 1864


  • Ogden Carr Bruton (1908-2003), American pediatrician and Chief of Pediatrics at Walter Reed Army Hospital, discoverer of "Bruton-type agammaglobulinemia"
  • Brigadier-General Philip Gilstrap Bruton (1891-1960), American Director of Labor War Food Administration (1943-1945)
  • David Lee Bruton Jr. (b. 1987), American NFL football safety for the Denver Broncos
  • Kris Marcus Bruton (b. 1971), American professional basketball player
  • David "Dave" Bruton (b. 1952), English former professional footballer
  • Leslie Hector Ronald "Les" Bruton (1903-1989), English footballer
  • Edward George Bruton (d. 1861), British Gothic Revival architect
  • John Gerard Bruton (b. 1947), Irish politician, Finance Minister (1981-1982) and Prime Minister of Ireland (1994-1997)


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  3. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  5. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  6. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  7. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  8. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Bruton Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bruton 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 17 February 2015 at 13:59.

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