Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Brereton Name
Origins of Brereton:
It is an English geographical name from the places in England so named as ‘Brereton’ in Staffordshire and Cheshire, and ‘Brearton’ in West Yorkshire. The place name sources are somewhat different as can be seen from documents in the Domesday Book of 1066. Brereton in Cheshire and Brearton in West Yorkshire were noted as ‘Bretone’ and ‘Brareton’ respectively and acquire from the Old English pre 7th Century components ‘braer’ or ‘brer,’ Briar and ‘tun,’ which means documents or settlement. Brereton in Staffordshire was first noted as ‘breredon,’ the second component being ‘dun’ which means a hill, slope. The two names would, therefore, mention one who resided at the hamlet where briars raised, or at the briar hill. John Brereton and Margaret Kempton married in London 1585.
More common variations are: Brereaton , Briererton, Breareton, Brerton, Brearton, Brierton, Bruerton, Bererton, Breraton, Breerton.
The surname Brereton first appeared in Cheshire at Brereton, a local church, containing the villages of Brereton Green and Brereton Heath. Brereton records back to the Domesday Book where it was noted as Bretone and meant “farmstead with the briars,” having acquired from the Old English words brer and dun. At that time, Gilbert de Venables held the lands of Brereton which were sufficient for four turns and held 1 acre of pasture. Brereton Hall, built for Sir William Brereton (1550-1631) is a country house north of the hamlet of Brereton Green. Alternatively, the name could have acquired from Brearton, a hamlet and local church in the Harrogate borough of North Yorkshire.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Richard de Brertona, dated about 1176, in the “Yorkshire Charter Rolls.” It was during the time of King Henry II who was known to be the “The Builder of Churches,” dated 1154-1189. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation.
Many of the people with surname Brereton had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Brereton landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 17th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Brereton who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included John Brereton settled in Maine in 1602. John Brereton, who came to Virginia in 1602. John Brereton who settled in Barbados in 1654. Geo Brereton, who landed in Virginia in 1695.
The following century saw much more Brereton surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Brereton who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included J T Brereton, who landed in Alaska in 1898.
Some of the individuals with the surname Brereton who landed in Australia in the 19th century included George Brereton, a harness-maker, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832. Henry Brereton arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship “Competitor” in 1848. Thomas Brereton, aged 27, a laborer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship “Charlotte Jane.”
Here is the population distribution of the last name Brereton: England 2,640; United States 1,830; Australia 1,612; Canada 606; Ireland 519; Trinidad and Tobago 436; South Africa 310; Wales 226; New Zealand 135; Barbados 54.
Alexander Picton Brereton (1892-1976), was a Canadian winner of the Victoria Cross.
Cuthbert A. Brereton (1850-1910), was a British civil engineer.
Dan Brereton (born 1965), is an American artist and cartoonist.
Dermott Brereton (born 1964), is an Australian rules football player.
Frederick Sadleir Brereton (1852–1957), was a British writer.
Henry E. H. Brereton (1865–1957), was a New York legislator.
Joseph Lloyd Brereton (1822-1901), was an English scholastic reformer and author.
Kevin Brereton (born 1972), is a Canadian singer, composer and record director.
Laurie Brereton (born 1946), is an Australian leader.
Lewis H. Brereton (1890-1967), was an American military flight officer.
Mocky Brereton is a New Zealand rugby league football player.
Patrick Brereton is a writer and a professor at Dublin City University.
Brereton Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Brereton blazon are the bar, cross formee flory, eagle and fretty. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and sable.
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” . Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron , perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
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 bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield , usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). Bars can be a distinctive and easily recognised device, early examples include those awarded by Henry III of England to the family MAUDYT Argent, two bars gules.
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross . Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges , or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross . The cross formee is typical of these, (also known as a cross pattee) it has arms which broaden out in smooth curves towards the ends.
Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period . They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject , but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!