Recorded in many forms including Briat, Briatt, Bryat, Bryatt, Bryed, Bryett, Bruyet, Bruyett, and probably others, this is an English surname but one almost certainly French in its ultimate origins. Research indicates at least two. The first is that it is a form of Briot, itself a diminutive surname from the ancient place name d'Aubriot, meaning light or bright, and the second, which would seem to apply to the spelling as Bruyet, a diminutive of Bruyer and Bruyez, nicknames for a stubborn individual, or perhaps given the robust humour of those times, the opposite. The name in England may have had two entries. The first at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, although we do not have any recordings from that period, and the second, being at the time of the Huguenot Protestant refugees, between the years 1580 and 1760. The Huguenots fled France to escape religious persecution, and many came to England. Examples of recordings taken from surviving church registers in the city of London include Humphrey Bryett at St Giles Cripplegate, on October 22nd 1565, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st (1558 - 1603), and Claude Bruyet, at the French church known as 'The Artillery', in Spitalfields, on September 25th 1702.
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