There is a lot of history behind the Brierton family. The beginnings of this page came from some information provide by Robert S. Brierton, a relative living in Pennsylvania, who provide a number of the links at the bottom of this page.
There are a number of variations of the spelling of the name, and (unscientifically)
most appear to start with Brereton. The family appears to have been given
land grants after supporting William the Conqueror in 1066. Some stories
found on the internet report that the first William Brereton was named for
William the Conqueror and the name has been popular in the family ever since.
The Brereton Estate
appears in the Domesday Book, prepared in 1086, and it is located near
Cheshire, England. The picture below is from
the www.brereton.org website
So, the first known references to the family are in England.
In 1536, Sir William Brereton picked up a handerkerchief dropped by Anne Boleyn. King Henry VIII was angered by the act, and jailed Sir William and four of his companions in the Tower of London. The Queen was arrested a few hour later. William and his companions beheaded on May 17, 1536, and the Queen 2 days later.
A John Brierton sailed with Captain Bartholomew Gosnold on the Concord in March 1602 on a voyage that made landfall in Maine and later sailed through Massachusetts bay and named Cape Cod. In 1606, he sailed with Captain John Smith, founder of Jamestown, and wrote about his voyages.
In the 1600's, the family seems to have spread out to Scotland, Ireland, and the Americas, at least in part because of religious and political differences. Much of the American branch seems to have settled in Virginia and Maryland, though the family is also found elsewhere.
Our own family lore has it that our ancestors were Tories who moved to Canada after the American revolution, the possibility of which is discussed on one of letters on the Brereton page. This would also fit with our known ancestor, James Brierton, having been born in Canada.
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