Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Bright Name
Origins of Name:
The surname Bright is comprised of the Old English word “beorht” meaning bright or shining, but can also be traced to the Medieval English nickname of ‘bright’ which meant that the person was fair, or beautiful. The surname Bright could also be a shortened version of the Old English word “Beorhthelm” which was a compound word, comprised of “beorht” and “helm” which meant helmet. Thus, this word literally translates to “bright helmet.” Throughout the ages, spellings have been changed due to literacy during the English Poll Taxes.
More common variations are:
Bright, Brighty, Burright, Brighto, Boright, Baright, Brighte, Buright, Brighta, Beright, Brightey, Breight, Brighet, Brighet,
The ancient surname Bright found its original mentions in the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain, and found in Cheshire County. Throughout history, the Bright surname has been spelled in multiple ways, and first appeared in recorded history in 1252, with the spelling Briht. The name appeared in The Pipe Rolls of Huntingdonshire for a man named John Briht.
After twenty-six years, in 1278 the surname appeared again with the spelling Brythe, and resurfaced again in 1279 with the spelling Brite. In 1296, Adam Bright’s name appeared in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Bright’s disease became a household name during the lifespan of Richard Bright, a physician who lived from 1789 to 1858. Bright’s disease was a renal disease that was concerned with chronic inflammation of the kidneys.
United States and Canada:
During The Great Migration, many people who carried the surname Bright migrated to the United States of America. In the 1600’s, Bright families settled in the New England area. Francis Bright came to Massachusetts in 1629, while Henry Bright arrived in New England in 1630. Two years later, Henry Bright migrated to Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1632, and ten years later, in 1642, Henry Bright Jr. settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. In the 18th century, Michael Bright and William Bright both settled in New England, with Michael arriving in Pennsylvania in 1726, and William arriving in 1747. Throughout the 19th century, Edward Bright came to New York in 1822, Robert Bright settled in Charleston, South Carolina in 1829, and Andrew Jackson Bright landed in Mobile, Alabama in 1895. Across the Canadian border, Mr. Moses Bright U.E. and Mrs. Elizabeth Bright U.E. arrived in Nova Scotia in 1783, after sailing on the Port Roseway from Staten Island, New York.
Australia and New Zealand:
In the 19th century, an English convict from Middlesex, William Bright, was transported to Van Diemen’s Land, Australia aboard the Albion. Four men all migrated to Adelaide, Australia. In 1837, John Edward Bright sailed aboard the Navarino, and in 1848, William Bright arrived aboard the Thomas Lowry. Another man by the name of William Bright sailed aboard the Susannah in 1849, and in that same year, fifty-three-year-old James Bright sailed aboard the ship William Money.
United States 38,165
Ghana 27, 478
South Africa 2,977
Ronnell Bright (born in 1930) who was a jazz pianist in America
Jesse David Bright (1812-1875) who was a politician in America, and also served at the 9th Lieutenant Governor of Indiana
Susannah “Susie” Bright (born in 1958) is a writer, speaker, audio-show host, performer, and teacher in America
Ronald David “Ronnie” Bright (1938-2015) who was an R&B (Rhythm and Blues) and doo wop singer in America
Johnny D. Bright (1930-1983) was a Canadian CFL football player, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, but was born in America
Arthur W. Bright who was a Democratic Candidate for the U.S. Representative from Tennessee in the 1st District in both 1954 and 1958, and was an American politician who also was an Alternate Delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Tennessee in 1948
Amos Bright, who was a Delegate to the Republican National Convention from West Virginia in 1912, and was an American Republican politician
Arlen Bright, who was the Chair of the Menominee County Republican Party in 2007, and is an American Republican politician
Bobby Neal Bright Sr. (born in 1952) who was the Mayor of Montgomery Alabama from the years 199 to 2008, and served as a U.S. Representative from Alabama in the 2nd District from 2009 to 2011, and is an American Democrat politician
Nicholas Bright (1956-1988) was a businessman from Brookline, Massachusetts who died in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing (known as the Lockerbie bombing) in 1988
Bright Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Bright blazon are the mullet, cross crosslet fitchee, crescent and escallop. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, azure and sable .
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..
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli . Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” .
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 heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” . A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires . In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” .
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. The cross crosslet is one of these, having an additional cross bar on each arm. Wade suggests that these additional crossing signify “the fourfold mystery of the Cross”. The final addition fitchee simply means pointed, and indicates that the lower end is pointed, as if it is to be struck into the ground.
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 xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter . The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” .