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The name Brereton reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Brereton family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Brereton family lived in Staffordshire. They lived in this area on estates at Brereton Manor, from which they took their name. Other records show that Brearton was a village in the parish of Knaresborough in Yorkshire and Brereton was a village three miles from Sandbach, Chester. "One of the great Cheshire families who can be proved to have existed at or near the time of the Conquest, and are yet unnoticed in [the] Domesday [Book]. They came over with the Conqueror, in the train of Hugh Lupus, with Gilbert de Venables to whom they are apparently related, and settled at Brereton, from which place the name was assumed as early as temp. William Rufus. " [1]


The surname Brereton was first found in Cheshire at Brereton, a civil parish, containing the hamlets of Brereton Green and Brereton Heath. Brereton dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Bretone and literally meant "farmstead amongst the briars," having derived from the Old English words brer + dun. [2] At that time, Gilbert de Venables held the lands of Brereton which was large enough for 4 ploughs and held 1 acre of meadow. [3] Brereton Hall, built for Sir William Brereton (1550-1631) is a country house north of the village of Brereton Green. Alternatively, the name could have been derived from Brearton, a village and civil parish in the Harrogate borough of North Yorkshire. In this case, the place name dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Braretone [3] having derived from the same literal origin as the aforementioned Brereton.

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Brereton, Breereton, Breeretoun, Breeretoune, Breriton and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brereton research. Another 207 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1550, 1631, 1604, 1661, 1611, 1664, 1661, 1664, 1631, 1680, 1659, 1718, 1691 and 1722 are included under the topic Early Brereton History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 181 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brereton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Brereton 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.


Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Brereton name or one of its variants:

Brereton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Brereton settled in Maine in 1602
  • John Brereton, who arrived in Virginia in 1602
  • John Brereton who settled in Barbados in 1654
  • Geo Brereton, who landed in Virginia in 1695

Brereton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • J T Brereton, who landed in Alaska in 1898

Brereton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Henry Brereton arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Competitor" in 1848
  • Thomas Brereton, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Charlotte Jane"


  • Mr. George Andrew Brereton, (alias George A. Brayton), aged 37, American First Class passenger from Los Angeles, USA who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 9
  • Lieutenant-General Lewis Hyde Brereton (1890-1967), American Secretary General of the Air Board, Washington, D.C. (1948)
  • Peirce H. Brereton, American Republican politician, Mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island, 1933-34
  • Henry E. H. Brereton, American Republican politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Warren County, 1911-17; Member of New York State Senate 33rd District, 1927-32; Chair of Warren County Republican Party, 1929
  • Frederic C. Brereton, American politician, Mayor of Belvidere, Illinois, 2007-11
  • Laurence John "Laurie" Brereton (b. 1946), Australian politician, member of the Australian House of Representatives from March 1990 to October 2004
  • Thomas Brereton (1782-1831), Irish soldier, who led the Dragoons against the rioters during the Bristol Riots
  • Sergeant Alexander Picton Brereton (1892-1976), Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces


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: Opitulante Deo
Motto Translation: By Godís help.


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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  3. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  5. 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).
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  8. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Brereton Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Brereton 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 25 November 2015 at 10:08.

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