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This Record of the Brinton family contains, (i) a sketch of its
history in England, from the origin of the name, about a.d. iioo,
until the emigration of the first settler to this country, 16S4, as near
as published material permits ; (2) a collection of all the information
preserved about the first colonist, William Brinton, and his immediate
family; and (3), a Genealogy of his descendants, to and including
the seventh generation, with brief biographical notes.

D. G. B.
Media, Penna.,
November, iSj8.

llfribatioii of tlje }\mt IVriiiton.

^:|fl])'RINTON is compounded of two Celtic words. The first s\'llable,

ijim]! di-Iu, bryn, means a lieight or a hill ; the second, ton, is the Celtic

dim, tiin, an enclosed camp or fortified place.* The compound,

therefore, means "the hill-fort," and was, at first, a local name applied

to the site of a fortified camp, or other defensive work.

A number of places in England, so named during the Celtic occupation,
continued to bear it in later times. In Norfolk, the parish of Brinton
still retains the name as at present spelled ; in Northampton.«hire, the
parish of Biingtoii, anciently and properly Brinton, is notable as the
burial place of the last English ancestor of George Washington ;
another Brinton is mentioned in old records in Warwickshire ; and
two parishes formerly called Brinton, one in Somersetshire, and the
other in Berkshire, yet have the name, but in both instances corrupted
to Briiitpion.

Across the Channel, in Normandy, where, as in England, many Celtic
names survived the northern invasion, there was, in very early times, a
domain named Brienion, on the right bank of the Seine, not far from
Corcelles. It gave its name to a family of Norman nobles, of whom we
hear as far back as the first Crusade (1096), and members of which
became of considerable note in later days. But they were not connected
with the Brinton family in England. f

*£ryn, sublimitas, collis; dim, castrum, arx. Zeiiss, Craiiiniatica Celtica, vol. I.
•j- On the Norman family "de Brienton" see Ale/iioires de la Socieli des Antiquaires de
yormandie, vol. xv, pp. 183, 184, 1S5 ; O'Gilvy, Nobiliaire de Normandie, vol. I, p. 273.

1150— lodCl.

'HE English family of BRiNXOiXS, from whom those in America
derive descent, took their name from the parish of Brinton, now
Brimpton, in southern Berkshire, a fertile tract of about fifteen
hundred acres, in the angle formed b}' the confluence of the little rivers
Auburn and Kennett.

In the " Domesday Book," the earliest record of English landholders,
compiled b)' command of William the Conqueror, 1080- 1 086, this parish
is set down as held in part by Robert Fit/. Gerold, and in part by Ralph
tie Mortemer, both of them powerful Norman barons, the latter a blood
relation of William the Conqueror, and described by an old author as
" one of the chiefest Commanders in his whole Army, and the most
puissant of his Captains."* He held nearl}' a hundred lordships, fi\e
of them in Berkshire. As was the custom at the Conquest, he let these
to his friends and followers on feudal tenures, by which the holder was
bound to military service under .specified conditions. That portion of
the parish of Bkinton' which he possessed, he let, in this manner, to one
of his followers, who took from it his second name, and called himself
" dc Brint07i" signifying of or front J^kinton. The first so named, of
whom we possess any definite account, is

Uobcrt lie Drinton, of Brinton, Berks, and of Longford, Shropshire, who

* Dugdale, The Baronage of England, vol. i, p. 139.



lived about 1150. The former manor he held under the then Earl
Mortimer; but the latter he held direct from the King, as "tenant-in-
chief;" and he had become possessed of it in this wise: —

When Hu<,^o de Belesme, Earl of Shropshire, made his ineffectual
attempt at rebellion, in 1102, his land and that of his associates was
confiscated to the crown, and given by the king to his favorites, on the
feudal tenure called "in chief," in capite.

Such "tcnants-in-chicf" were divided into three classes, those holding
by " homage ancestral," those b)' " grand serjeantry," which implied the
performance of personal service, and those by " petty serjeantry," which
was the yearly payment of some implement of war to the king.* Until
after the battle of Evesham, in 1265, which cut down the power of the
nobles, every tenant-in-chief was, ipso facto, a baron of the realm, and
a member of the Great Council of the king, nor had the king the right
to omit to summon him to attend its sessions. f On the other hand, when
a tenant-in-chief died without male issue, his daughters became royal
wards, whom the king might give, with their estates, in marriage to
whom he pleased. J

Now, among those to whom the lands of Hugo and his associates
were given, was a certain Hamo, who received, as tenant-in-chief, the
manor of Longford, or Langford, on the eastern border of Shropshire,
close to the Staffordshire line.

Hamo had as wife, Etiiclinda, otherwise called Sibil, or Basilia Fitz
Odo, a name hinting at high Norman connections. He died about 1 160,

*C. H. Pearson, The Early and Midille Ages of England, p. 425.
f Richard Thompson, Historical Essay on the Magna Charla, p. 195.
J Pearson, Early and Middle Ages of England, p. 427.

10 T H E B R I N T O N F A M I L Y .

seized of this manor of Longford, in Shropshire, of Lacerton, in Dorset-
shire, of Church-Eaton-cum-Orslow (Chirche-Eyton-cum-Orselawe), in
Staffordshire, about six miles southeast of Longford, and of Mid-Aston,
in Oxfordshire; both these latter held under the Barons Stafford. He
had no male issue, but left three unmarried daughters, Eva, Agnes and
Emma, who, accordingly, became royal wards. Emma was disposed of
by being sent to the nunnery of Kingston, Wilts; Agnes was, apparently,
not provided with a hu.sband ; while f2va was given in marriage to the
above-mentioned Robert de Brinton, of Berks, who thus became tenant-
in-chief of the Manor of Longford, in right of his wife.

For what service King Henry ii compensated him with the hand and
lands of the heiress Eva, does not appear. It was certainly not through
the intercession of his feudal chief, Hugh de Mortimer; for that
turbulent noble opposed the accession of King Henry, and had to be
brought to obedience by the sword. Possibly it was that Robert de
Brinton, in this struggle, sided with the crown, and the king rewarded
him for his loyalty by rendering him independent, and legally the peer
of Earl Hugh himself

The most imj^ortant record preserved of this Robert de Brinton, is a
letter from him contained in an ancient document called " The Black
Book of the Exchequer," compiled about the year 1164. In that year
Henry 11 betrothed his daughter Maud, or Mathilda, then eight years of
age, to the Emperor of German}-, and took advantage of the occasion to
exercise his privilege of levying a special tax, called an aid, on all his
tenants-in chief. They were summoned to show how much land each
held from the crown, and on what terms, both at his accession in 1 154,
and in the time of his grandfather, Henry i.


The reph' wliicli Robert de Brinton sent was as follows, written in the
usual law Latin of that day : —


Karissimo Domino suo ligio H. Regi Anglorum etc., suus homo ligius
Robertus de Brinton salutem et fidele servitium.

Mihi et aliis comparibus meis, per litcras vestras innotuit, ut per fidem
et ligantiam, quam vobis debemus, vobis per breve nostrum, pendens
extra sigilJum, mandaremus quot milites habemus de vetero feodamento
de tempore regis H. avi vestri, et quot milites habeamus de novo
feodamento post tempus Regis H. avi vestri, super Dominium nostrum.
Inde est, quod vobis ut Domino meo karissimo, mando quod de vetero
feodamento nullum militem habeo, praeter feodum unius quem mihi cum
quadam liberali mulicre, nomine Eva, quae m est haeres, per servitium
unius militis dedistis, faciendo servitium ad custum vestrum.

De novo autem feodamento, vel super Dominium meum, nullum mili-
tem habeo. Et vobis quidem, et filio vestro, ligantiam et hominium feci.



To his most dear liege lord Henry, King of the English, his liege man
Robert of Brinton, [sends] greeting and loyal service.

To me, and others my compeers, it has been notified by your letter,
that by the loyalty and liege service we owe to you, we should inform
you by our writing, with seal attached, how many knights' fees we have of
the old feoffment of the time of King Henry, your grandfather, and how
many knights' fees we have of the new feoffment after the time of King
Henry, your grandfather, [assessed] upon our demesne. Therefore it
is that I inform you that of the old feoffment I have no knight's fee,
except the fee of one, which you gave me with a certain gentlewoman,
by name Eva, who is heir thereof, by service of one knight, the service
to be performed at your expense.

Of the new feoffment, or [assessed] upon my own demesne, I have
no knight's fee; and I have done liege service and man service, both to
you and to your son.


In explanation of the terms here used, it may be added that a "knight's
fee," or the duty of furnishing to the feudal chief, when he called for it,
the service of one man-at-arms, was required by the Normans as the
rental of a certain quantity of land, and, hence, came to mean that
quantity. There is some discrepancy as to how much this was, but one
respectable authority states that in early English law a knight's fee was
composed of five "hides," and each hide of four " yardlands," a yardland
equaling twenty-four modern acres. Therefore, a knight's fee would
have been four hundred and eighty acres.*

There can be no question but that Robert was of French, and not
Saxon descent. His name alone is almost sufficient. " Every Robert,"
says Mr. Freeman, speaking of the Christian names in England, in that
period, " was Norman, beyond a doubt. "f His rank as tenant-in-chief
would not have been allowed to a Sa.con ; nor would Henry ii have so
violated the prejudices of the age a.s to have given the hand of an heiress
of the Norman house of Fitz Odo, which claimed even royal blood, to
any but a Norman of recognized position.

Soon after their marriage, Robert and Eva presented the Church of
Longford to Shrewsbury Abbey, that of Church Eyton (or Eaton) to
Polesworth nunnery, and that of Lacerton to Kingston nunnery^ Wilts. J
Some years later Robert quarreled with the monks of Shrewsbury, and
demanded back the Church of Longford. On their refusal to restore it,
he armed his men and seized the Chapel of Kinnersley, belonging to the
Abbey. This led to a law suit and his final recovery of Longford Church.

* Burns, Law Dictionary.

^History of the Xorinan Conquest, vol. V, p. 558.

\ The letters of gift may be found in Dugdale's Monaslicon Anglicanum.

THE B R 1 , T O N FAMILY. 13

Robert died on or before 1 185, leaving two sons, Adam and John, and
his widow. The latter took in 'second marriage, 1190 or 1191, Walter
de Witefeld. He was a litigious 'person, and .spent much of his time in
prosecuting suits about his wife's property. One of these was against
her sister Agnes, who, remarks the learned historian of Shropshire, Rev.
Robert W. Eyton, " though, dejt/re;'a. co-heiress with her sister Eva, was
all but disinherited." Walter dyinf:;', 12 15,

'Mam lie Urintou, eldest son o. Robert, entered into full possession
of his father's estates. Just at that time took place the insurrection of
the barons against King John, which resulted in the laying of that
corner-stone of English liberty, the Magna Charta. Adam was an
ardent supporter of the movement, and came in for a share of the king's
vengeance. By a royal writ, dated September 15, 1.2 16, his lands were
confiscated and given to his brother John de Brinton. But King John
dying very shortly afterward, and the barons succeeding in their
demands, Adam was reinvested in his domain by a writ of Henry in,
dated November 4, 12 17.* Adam died, nearly seventy years of age, in
1235. His son,

^ilam be BviutOlt (second of that name) was invested with his estates,
January 26, 1236, and paid to the Royal Commissioners his "relief fee"
of one hundred shillings.f His fees or holdings, in 1240, are enumerated
as follows: "In Shropshire, one fee, in capite, in Longford; in Stafford-
shire, one fee of the Baron Stafford, in Eyton (Church Eaton) and
Orselawe ; in Oxfordshire, half a fee of the Baron Stafford, in Middle
Aston; and in Berkshire, one fee in Brinton, under Ralph de Mortimer."

* Abbreviatio Literarutn clausaruni, ann , I Henrici III.

f Calendarium Cenealogicum, Excerpta e Rotulisfiniuin, 20, Henry in.


According to the land measure already quoted, this would make sixteen
hundred and eighty acres in all.

In 1 260-1 he wa's appointed commissioner, with Thomas de Roshal
and Hoel ap Madoc, to meet the warlike Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, at
the Ford of Montgomery, in the Welsh Marches, to negotiate a truce
with him. For their expenses on this journey, the "Pipe Roll" of 1261
records the payment to them of £"] \os. The official writ announcing
his death (known as the writ Diem clausit extremuin) was tested at
Westminster, June 20, 1274. As he was of full age at his father's death,
he could not have lived far from seventy years. He was succeeded by

^ilain be Briutoil (third of that name), then over thirty years of age.*
The annual return of the manor of Langford, at that time, was appraised
at .^8 ly. \od. As its tenant under the crown, Adam was bound to
provide one soldier, with a "barbed" horse (that is, one furnished with a
kind of defensive armor, made of leather studded with projecting iron
spikes, called /a barbe), for forty days, whenever the king, in person,
should approach Wales. His wife's name was Maria.f

In the summer of 1277410 was summoned for service against Llew-
ellyn, Prince of Whales, and, being a knight, discharged it in person,
attending the muster at Worcester, July i. Ten years later, as a
prominent landholder in Berks, he was appointed a " Conservator of the
Peace" for that shire. Again, in 1297, as a tenant-in-chief, holding lands
in Shropshire, to the yearly value of ii^20 or upward, he was summoned
to appear, with horses and arms, at London, July 17, for ser\'ice beyond
the seas. King Edward, at that time, contemplating an incursion into

* Rohdi Fhiiiim, 3, Edward i.

t Placita de Quo Warranto, 21 Ed. I, p. 712.


France. In 1 301 he was summoned to a muster at Berwick-upon-Tweed,
to attack the Scots.*

In the inter\-als of these soldierly duties he carried on important civil
ones In 1300 he sat in Parliament as a knight of the shire for Berks.
As lord of the manor and a tenant-in-chief he held, twice a year, a free
court of high jurisdiction, at his manor house in Longford, judging
pleas "of bloodshed and hue-and-cry," and exercising the rights of
"fossa and furca," that is, of hanging male and drowning female criminals.
He also had the right of "warreny," that is, of preserving and killing
game, a privilege very highly esteemed in those days.f At that time the
manor of Longford included the vills of Brocketon and Chresthill.
Adam also held of the king the vills of Sturcheley and Culmayre, which
he sublet to Robert Corbet, and he to the Abbot of the Benedictine
monastery of Buildwas, in Shropshire.! Adam died several years beyond
three-score-and-ten, the writ Dietn clausit on his death bearing date May
10, 1315. He was succeeded by his son,

ioljn k Crintcm, born in 1287. He is mentioned in a list of land-
holders, in 1 3 16, as one of the lords of Brimpton and VVasing (a parish
adjoining Brimpton, on the south), Berkshire; of Middle Aston, Oxford-
shire; of Church Eaton, Staffordshire; and of Longford, Shropshire.
In the years 1319-22 he was sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and
again in 1327-8. In 1324 he was ordered to seize, in the king's name,
all goods and chattels belonging to aliens, in Oxfordshire, "except those

* The Parliamentary Writs and Writs of Military Summons, vol. I, p. 501.
f These particulars are given in a Feodary of Shropshire, compiled about 1285, and
published in the Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, vol. i, p. 114, London, 1834.
Jlbid, p. 1 18.


of Cardinal Neapoleone."* In 1327 he sat in Parliament as a knight of
the shire for Berks. In 1359 he was appointed one of twelve gentlemen
of Shropshire, to collect, arm and drill the adult male inhabitants to
protect the realm in the absence of the king beyond seas.f

He lived a long life, well into the eighties, and was the last of the name
who held undivided the lands brought into the family by the heiress
Eva, of Longford. He made a partial transfer of his property before his
death, and there is on record the payment of a fee by him in 1375, of
one hundred shillings, for permission to convey the manor of Longford
to his son Thomas, and Thomas' wife, Isabella. In this grant he is styled
"Chivaler" icluvalier, knight). J

iLl)OinaS ^£ 33l"inton received from his father, besides the manor of
Longford, the fee of Church-Eyton-cum-Orslow, in Staffordshire. He
did not long survive, and at his death, which occurred in 1382, he is
stated to have held only these two tracts.§ His wife, called " Dame
Isabella," took in second marriage (about 1390), Sir Robert Fraunceys,
of Foremark, Derbyshire, a man of some prominence. He was sheriff
of Staffordshire, under Richard 11, and again under Henry iv. Dame
Isabella survived him also, and lived to an advanced age in possession of
Longford manor, as it is recorded that she "presented" to Longford
Church, in 1432. It is believed by the Rev. Mr. Eyton|| that she left
no issue by her first husband, as he appears to have been the last of the
Brintons who held Longford. Church-Eyton-cum-Orslow, however,

* Fccdera, A. D. 1324, p. 577.

f Fadera, vol. HI, p. 455.

\Abbreviatio Rotulorum Originalititn, xlviii Ed. ni, vol. u, p. 3J4.

\ Calendariiim Inquisitiomim post mortcniy Anno 6, Rich. 11.

I| History and Antiquities of Shropshire, vol. vni.


which was not included in John de Brinton's deed of gift to Thomas and
Isabella, was claimed, at Thomas' death, by the next of kin of the Brinton
name, and it seems to have been in litigation as late as 1398, as in that
year it is vaguely stated, in an Inquisitio post-mortem on the Baron
Stafford, to be held " by the heirs of John de Brinton."*

The suit was decided in favor of the family, as on the death of another
Baron Stafford, in 1464, Church Eyton with Orslow is stated to be held
by "John Brynton," probably a g'randnephew of Thomas.f

This entry is doubly interesting as showing that the family had now
definitely removed to Staffordshire, and also had dropped the locative de
to their name. The latter was, probably, partly because English was
rapidly supplanting Norman French as a business tongue ; but chiefly
because the manor of Brinton passed out of the family after the death
of John de Brinton. On the settlement of the suits relating to his estate
(some time after 1398), both it and Mid-Aston, Oxfordshire, came, either
by purchase or marriage, into the possession of a William Stokes, who
died in 1446.J A century later it passed to the De la Hyde family, and
is now owned mostly by a London merchant, James Blyth, Esq.

Longford, in the following century, was purchased by the Earls of
Shrewsbury, who sold it, in the eighteenth century, to the Leek family,
its present owners. Lacertoh had long before (in the reign of Henry in)
been conveyed to the Bozors.§

* Catendarittm Inqitisitionum post-mortem, 22 Ric. 11, p. 250.
I Ibid, 39 Hen. vi, p. 295.

\ Calendarium Inqiiisitiomim poit-morlein,\'o\. iv, p. 108.
\ Hutchinson, History of Dorsetshire, vol. I, p. 311.


The sources from which the above facts have been gleaned are chiefly
the pubHcations of the PubHc Records Commission of Great Britain.
The Rev. Robert W. Eyton, in the eighth volume of his History of
Shropshire, gives an interesting account of the Brintons of Longford,
which he has kindly supplemented by a letter to the present writer,
containing additional particulars. On some minor points the statements
in his History have needed correction.

With the removal of the family to Staffordshire, and its ceasing to
belong to the class of independent landholders, the difficulty of tracing
it increases, and cannot be surmounted in this country. It is highly
probable, however, that in the extensive manuscript material for the
history of Cuddleston Hundred (in which Church Eaton is situated),
collected by the Rev. Stebbings Shaw, in the latter part of the last
century, an:l which is said to be now in the library of Lord Bagot, most,
or all, of the missing links could be found.

Of the Brinton families at present in England, the principal one is that
of which the head is John Brinton, Esq., of Kidderminster and Moor
Hall, Stourport. His father and grandfathdr were master manufacturers
of carpets, in Kidderminster, and the present firm, of which he is senior
partner, is the second largest in that line in Great Britain. His brother,
the late William Brinton, m. d., of London, was a physician of distin-
guished ability, enjoying the third largest practice in that metropolis at
the time of his death, in 1869. He was author of a number of medical
works on diseases of the stomach, on the medical selection of lives for

THE BRINTON' family. 19

assurance, and on physiology, all of which received high praise from the
professional press. Their eldest sister married the late Sir Francis
Crossley, whose eldest son, Sir Saville Brinton Crossley, now has the
baronetcy and estates.

The ancestor of this family came from the same part of southern
Staffordshire from which the American colonist, William, emigrated in
1684, and there can be no reasonable doubt but that they both descended
from John Brinton, of Church-Eyton-cum-Orslow, 1464.

The Brinton name is by no means common elsewhere in England.
Richard C. Brinton and Son, iron merchants, of Birmingham ; George S.
Brinton, Esq., of Southampton, and William Brinton, of London, watch
dial enameler, are about the only representatives to be found in the

Like all proper names, Brinton is given, in the ancient records, with
a variety of orthography. The following variations occur : —

Brinton, Brynton, Brinthon, Braynton, Brunton, Bruntton, Brounton,
Brintona, Brintone, Brimton, Brimpton, Brympton, Brompton, Brumpton.

But it is noteworthy that the present orthography is found in the
oldest and best authorities, to wit, the Domesday Book, the Feodary of
1 165 (the Black Book), in the "Testa de Nevill," in the Ingnisitio post
mortem of Adam 11, in the writings of Bishop Brinton (about to be
noticed), etc. This is satisfactory, as it is the correct Anglicized form of
the Celtic members of the name.


(Lljoiiuis h IVriiiton, fiisjioj) of |\ocj)cster.

jJlfN the fourteenth century a number of the family entered the Church.
There is mention of a priest, Roger de Brinton, who, early in the
^ reign of Edward in, received a pass to travel beyond seas; William
de Brinton, clcriciis, was presented to Longford Church in 1387; and a
contemporary of his, Elias de Brinton, was rector of Newenham ; but the
most eminent was Thomas de Brintofi, who was Bishop of Rochester
from 1373 to his death, in 1389.

The following is a record of his appointment : —

"48 Ed. in. The Pope appointed, as Bishop of Rochester, Thomas de
BkiNTONE, a Benedictine monk at Nonvich, by his Bull of 31st January,
1372-3; he received the spiritualities from the Archbishop, 20th March,
in that year, and the temporalities from him, 8th April, 1373; and the
King, having received the fealty of the said Bishop, 2i.st October, restored
the temporalities to him on that day. He died in 1 389, and was buried in

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