This notable surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of four places in England which have as their initial element the Olde English pre 7th Century male given name "Bryni" (from "bryne", fire, flame), with the patronymic suffix "-ing", sons, dependents of, and "tun", settlement, village. These places are: Brinton, a parish south west of Holt in Norfolk, recorded as "Brinton" in the 1197 Pipe Rolls, and as "Bryneton" in 1291; Brington in Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire, recorded respectively as "Brynintune" in the Anglo-Saxon Chartulary, dated 974, and as "Brintone" in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Northamptonshire; Brineton in Staffordshire; and Brenton near Exminster in Devonshire. 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 1273, one Thomas de Brinton was noted in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire. The christening of Catherine Brenton took place at Crediton, Devonshire, on March 10th 1604, and on April 21st 1616, Christofer Brenton was christened at St. Botolph's, Colchester, Essex. Two notable namebearers are listed in the "National Biography", these are: Edward Pelham Brenton (1774 - 1839), a navy captain, and Sir Jahleel Brenton (1776 - 1844), vice-admiral of the navy. A Coat of Arms held by the Brenton family is a red shield with a lion rampant between three silver martlets, on a gold canton, the stern of a ship of the line proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Brinton, which was dated 1272, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.