Amongst the more unusual surnames are those that acquire from the pre 6th Century Olde English "beornan", meaning "to burn". In some name holders, the origination is geographic, and given to residents on "burnt land". It particularly applies to Yorkshire where much of the county was totally laid waste (and remained so for two hundred years) by William the Champion in 1070 in retribution for continued resistance to his attack. More common variations are: Brient, Bryent, Brendt, Berent, Brenot, Breant, Brenet, Brenta, Brenti, Brente.
The surname Brent first found in Somerset where they conjecturally declined from Ralf de Conteville who was Lord of the manor of Brent, and an undertenant of the Abbot of Glastonbury, as shown in the Domesday Book in 1086. The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Gilbert Brende, dated 1273, in the “Hundred Rolls of Staffordshire”. It was during the reign of King Edward 1st, who was known as "The Hammer of the Scots" dated 1272-1307. Surname all over the country became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.
Some of the people with the name Brent who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included Margaret Brent (born c. 1600, Gloucestershire, England - died 1669/71, Westmoreland County, Virginia) who arrived in Maryland in 1638 and obtained a patent for 70 acres. People with the surname Brent who landed in the United States in the 18th century included Robert Brent, who arrived in Virginia in 1711. Susannah Brent, who landed in Virginia in 1711. Peter Brent, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1741.
Some of the people with the surname Brent who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included John Brent, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840. Benjamin Brent, who landed in New York in 1843. Some of the people with the surname Brent who arrived in the Canada in the 17th century included George Brent who settled in Bona Vista, Newfoundland, in 1677.