Michael Linton's Bayeux Tapestry: 1066 - A Medieval Mosaic and Puzzles
BATTLE ABBEY ROLL.
ACCOUNT OF THE NORMAN LINEAGES.
IN THREE VOLUMES.—VOL. I
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton, 2007
Brito, or Le Breton. No less than nine of this name appear in Domesday Book: all of them probably Breton knights that had followed the fortunes of Alain-le-Roux or his kinsmen. Alured Brito held of the King a barony of twenty-two lordships in Devonshire: Gozelin another in Bucks, Gloucester, and Bedfordshire; Oger one in Leicester and Lincoln; Rainald one in Sussex; Tihel one in Essex and Norfolk; Waldeve one in Lincoln and Cheshire; and Maigno or Manno Brito one in Bucks and Leicestershire. Two others, Roger and William, were mesne-lords in Somerset and Huntingdon. It would seem an endless—not to say a hopeless—task to disentangle the genealogies of all these various adventurers from Brittany; the more so as many of them probably assumed the name of their manors. This was the case with Richard Brito's descendants in Nottinghamshire. Annesley, part of the great fee held by Ralph FitzHerbert at the time of Domesday, was held under him by "one Richard, who probably was father or ancestor of Ralph called Brito, who, together with his son Reginald de Anesleia, gave the church of Felley to the Priory of St. Cuthbert de Radford, near Worksop, in the year 1158."—Thoroton's Notts. From him descended Francis Annesley, first Viscount Valentia, temp. James I., and the Earls of Anglesey, Mountmorris, and Annesley. Maigno Brito, the Buckinghamshire baron, was the ancestor of the Wolvertons of Stoke-Hamond (one of his manors mentioned in Domesday), where they continued for a considerable time.—Lysons.
Banks enumerates several "persons of great eminence" bearing this name among his Barones Pretermissi. Amongst them are Ranulph Briton, of Northamptonshire, Chancellor to Henry III., as well as to his Queen, who died of apoplexy about 1247; John Briton, Bishop of Hereford, one of the King's Justices in the same reign; another John, seated in Norfolk, who affixed his name to Edward I.'s memorable letter to the Pope as Johannes le Briton, Dominus de Sporle; and William Breton, whose identity has never been satisfactorily established, who had a writ of military summons to attend the King at Newcastle in 1295.
Morant informs us that the surname of the "Tihell Brito" of Domesday was De Helion, and that he founded a flourishing and richly-endowed family in Essex, which gave the name to their seat of Bumsted-Helion. Their barony was, however, subjected by the Empress Maud to Alberic de Vere, Earl of Oxford. The last heir-male, John Helion, whose mother, a very great heiress, had brought the estates of the Swinburnes and Bottetourts, died 28 Hen. VI. He had himself acquired Gosfield Hall through his wife, Alice Rolf; and the whole accumulated inheritance centred on his second daughter, Isabella Tyrell; the eldest, who had married Sir Thomas Montgomery, of Falkborn Hall, being childless.