Bryton is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England
after the Norman Conquest
of 1066. The Bryton family lived at Breighton in the East Riding of Yorkshire
where they were established since the early Middle Ages. Some have mistakenly thought the name came from Brighton in Sussex
, but until the late 1800s that place was called Brighthelmestone.
Early Origins of the Bryton family
The surname Bryton was first found in Yorkshire
where they held a family seat
as Lords of the Manor of Breighton in the East Riding. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy
, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron
, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England
to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, the sizeable village of Breighton was held Ralph de Mortimer, a battle of Hastings warrior, who was granted many 123 Lordships by Duke William of Normandy, his chief seat being that of Wigmore Castle in Herefordshire
. Which of his under-tenants or relatives held Breighton is unknown, but we feel certain that this is the ancient ancestor of the Brightons. He was succeeded by Roger, Hugh, William and others.
Early History of the Bryton family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bryton research.Another 245 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1328 and 1341 are included under the topic Early Bryton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bryton 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 Brighton, Bryton, Bryghton, Brighten, Bryten, Bryghten and many more.
Early Notables of the Bryton family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Bryton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bryton family to the New World and Oceana
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 Bryton or a variant listed above: Henry Brighton, a child immigrant to Virginia in 1626; Thomas Brighton, who arrived in New England
in 1635; Daniel Brighton, who came to Virginia in 1743.
Contemporary Notables of the name Bryton (post 1700)
- Bryton Eric McClure (b. 1986), American actor perhaps best known for his childhood role as Richie Crawford on the ABC/CBS sitcom Family Matters