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,  and literally meant "farmstead on the River Brue," the latter Celtic word meant "brisk." Combined it meant, "farmstead on the brisk running river."  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
Bruton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Bruton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
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.