Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Brandon Name
England, Ireland, Germany
Origins of Name:
The Brandon surname derives from a variety of possible sources. First, the surname is of geographical origin after locations bearing the name Brandon in places such as Northumberland, Durham, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Warwickshire. The placenames are a combination of the Old English words “brom” meaning broom, and “dun” meaning hill. The surname Brandon could possibly be of Old French origin as a surname derived from ancestors named “Brand”. Brand itself could derive from a German first name “Brando” which was used as a shorter version of various name combinations, for example “brand” meaning sword was an occupational name for a sword blacksmith. The surname was then passed down as “son of Brand” or “son of a sword blacksmith”.
More common variations are: Brandoni, Barandon, Brandone, Brandona, Brandton, Brandoin, Brandonn, Broandon, Brandaon
The first appearance of a geographical place was “Brandon” in Lincolnshire which dates as far back as 1060. “Brandum” as a geographical name appeared in 1086 in Norfolk in the Domesday Book. The Domesday Book also recorded “Brandune” in Warwickshire and other various spellings including Brandona, Suffolk, and Brandun, Norfolk.
The first known recorded spelling of the name is Leofric de Brandune in 975 in Norfolk in the Pipe Rolls.
Charles Brandon famously left for France to marry Princess Mary, Henry VIII sister, in Paris. Gerard Brandon was recorded as being christened in 1717 in Crevic, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France.
The surname Brandon is the 4584th most common name in Great Britain. The highest concentrations are in Essex.
Brandon is the anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Breandain, meaning “son of Breandan”. The surname was notably in County Kerry. The Mac Breandain line was a branch of Fitzmaurice. Brendon is a variant.
In County Ulster, the surname Brandon was introduced by Scottish and English settlers in the 17th century.
Helen Brandon in 1683 was recorded in Forfar, which could have derived from Northumberland’s Brandon line.
The Brandon line also appeared in Scotland in the 17th century in Angus. John Brandon would emigrate from Scotland to Boston in 1716.
The first arrival of the surname Brandon in the United States was Martin Brandon in 1626 who arrived in Virginia. William Brandon in 1630 settled in Connecticut, and WM Brandon in 1653 arrived in Virginia. In 1653, Hugh Brandon came to the New World and later settled in Barbados with his wife and all of his servants. Many Brandons wold arrive in the 18th century. John Brandon in 1715 went to Boston, Massachusetts. In 1716, another Brandon of the same name, John, would also settle in Massachusetts. The 19th century saw many of the Brandon line arrive and settle in Maryland. In 1804, Jane Brandon, Thomas Brandon, Mary Brandon, Gerard Brandon, and Henry Brandon all would settle in Baltimore, Maryland.
Brandon is the 1127th most popular surname in the United States.
The ship Billow would sail for Canada, and Thomas Brandon, a worker, would arrive in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833. He was one of the few Brandons that would arrive in the 19th century in Canada.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Brandon:
29,000 in the United States, 3,000 in England , 1,000 in Canada, 1,000 in South Africa, 1,000 in Australia
David Brandon (1813-1897) Scottish architect who had worked mainly with Gothic style architecture. He was partnered with Thomas Whyatt and worked at a number or English country houses and churches.
Alfred Brandon (1854-1938), Mayor of Wellington, New Zealand. He became a lawyer, and later mayor of Wellington. His son would later become a famous aviator.
Gerard Brandon (1788-1850), Governor of Mississippi. He served twice as Governor when it was in its infancy as a state. He was a war hero, and attended Princeton. He would go on to have 8 children.
Henry Brandon (1516), nephew of Henry VIII. His grandparents on his mother’s side were Henry VII of England and Queen consort Elizabeth of York. Although he had a claim to the throne, he died at the age of 10.
Richard Brandon (17th century), English hangman. He was famous for being the executioner of King Charles I. A famous song in the gallows in the 15th century was “I had better to have lived in beggary, than to have fallen in the hands of Gregory”.
William W. Brandon (1868-1934), Governor of Alabama. He was the 37th governor of Alabama from 1923 to 1927. He grew up in Tuscaloosa as the son of a minister.
Brandon Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Brandon blazon are the lion rampant, pellet and lion’s gamb. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, or and gules .
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries . Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone..
There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms . The lion rampant is an example of these modified form, and any family would be proud to have such a noble creature displayed on their arms. Rampant is the default attitude of the lion, raised on its hind legs, facing to the dexter and with front paws extended in a fearsome and powerful pose.
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose One of the simplest such shapes is the plain circle, known to heralds as the roundle. So popular is this charge that a shorthand has arisen for roundles of a particular colour and pellet is a roundle sable, or black. It is also known as an ogress or gunstone. Most authorities agree that the English usage signifies the “Manchet cake” or communion wafer and thus is a symbol of religious allegiance.
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.The variant lion’s gamb is another word for leg, and its significance remains the same as its parent animal