This long-established surname is of French origin, and is a diminutive of Brett, which is an ethnic name for a Breton, from the Old French "bret" (oblique case "breton"). The Bretons were originally Celts driven from South West England to North West France in the 6th Century by invading Anglo-Saxons. Some returned with the army of William the Conqueror in the Invasion of 1066, and many of those then settled in East Anglia where the surname is now widespread. In Scotland it may also denote a member of one of the Celtic speaking peoples of Strathclyde, who were known as "Bryttas" or "Brettas" well into the 13th Century. The name may also be from a male given name of the same origin, which is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Bretel, Bretellus" and "Britellus". Reginald Bretel is noted in the 1169 Pipe Rolls of Huntingdonshire, and Richard Britel is listed in the 1243 Assize Rolls. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Brettel, Brettell, Brettle, Bretelle and Bretelle. On November 25th 1860, Frederick Henry, son of Edward and Ellen Brettelle, was christened at St. John's, Deritend and Bordesley, Warwickshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts two gold chevronels between two gold eagles displayed in chief and a gold crescent in base, on a blue shield, the Crest being a blue demi eagle displayed upon a gold millrind, in the beak an ear of gold corn. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwine Brytael, which was dated 1035, in the "Old English Byname Register of Dorset", during the reign of Canute the Dane, 1016 - 1035. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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