Recorded in several spellings including Bretland, Brettland, Britland, Braitling and possibly others, this is a very unusual surname. We think that it is English, and from a medieval place called the 'Britland' or similar, however we have not identified such a place. Nevertheless we believe that it is locational and a name given to a tribe or settlement of the pre 5th century Old English called Britons, or perhaps Bretons by the defeated Anglo-Saxons of the 11th century in regard to some Bretons, who had been given land in their area.It is known that many Bretons from Brittany accompanied Duke William of Normandy on his conquest of England in 1066, and were rewarded with lands. On that basis it was logical that we should identify such a place, but this is not so. There are a number of places called Bretton, but nothing with the suffix '-land'. However as some three thousand British Isles surnames are known to originate from 'lost' places, this may be one. The spelling as Braitling which is also included within this surname group, is almost from Northern Europe, so it is just possible that in total we have an early Scandanavian-German place name surname. Examples of the name recording include Martin Britland at the church of St Martin Orgar in the city of London, on March 22nd 1616, Robert Bretland at St Giles Cripplegate, also city of London, on April 5th 1717, and Christian Frederick Braitling at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on June 4th 1854.
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