This unusual name derives from the Olde Norse pre 10th century personal name 'Brandr' meaning a firebrand or sword, although the English surname origin is locational from Brancepeth in Northumberland. The two main areas for what is quite a rare name were Staffordshire and (later) Bedford. Early published examples of the name are few, an early spelling being Brandreith, in Staffordshire. The earliest published name holder held the Coat of Arms of a black field charged with five gold mascules forming a cross. Joseph Brandreth (1746-1815) was a famous Scottish doctor, whilst Jeremiah Brandreth was executed as an army mutineer in 1817! The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James Brandreth which was dated C. 1588 Weeford, Stafford during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 Good Queen Bess 1558-1603 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.