This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from either of two places in the north of England called Branton; the one near Wooler in Northumberland, and the other south east of Doncaster in the West Riding of Yorkshire, or from the parish and village of Braunton in Devonshire. The first mentioned place, recorded as "Bremetona", circa 1150, and as "Bremtun" in the Book of Fees for Northumberland, dated 1236, is so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bremen", broomy, and "tun", enclosure, settlement; hence, "enclosure where broom grew". The Yorkshire place, appearing as "Brantune" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Bramton" in the 1240 Feet of Fines for that county, has as its initial element the Olde English "brom", broom, with "tun" (as above). Braunton in Devonshire, recorded as "Brantona" in the Domesday Book, and as "Bramtona" in 1169, shares the same meaning and derivation. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. In 1379, one Johannes Branton was noted in the Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire, and on April 28th 1539, the birth of Alse Branton was registered at Northam, Devonshire. The family Coat of Arms depicts a silver cross between four gold mullets on a black shield with a red bordure. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Branton', which was dated 1162, in the "Pipe Rolls of Northamptonshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.