Recorded in several forms as shown below, this is an English surname. It is however of arguably of French origin, and an ethnic name for a Breton from Brittany in France. The Bretons were originally Celts driven from South West England to North West France in the 6th Century by invading Anglo-Saxons. Some four hundredyears later they returned with the army of Duke William of Normandy, known to history as 'The Conqueror' in the Invasion of 1066. These returning people did not howver return to their homeland in Cornwall but in East Anglia where the surname is now widespread. Occasionally, the name may derive from the Celtic speaking people of Strathclyde, Scotland, who were known as Byrttas and Brettas until the 13th Century. In the modern idiom the spellings include Brett, Britt, Breton, Breeton, Briton, Bretton and de Brett, with Diana de Brett who married Henry Johnson on October 12th 1802 at Marylebone, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edward Brit. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book, during the reign of King William 1st, 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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