Recorded in several spelling forms including Brereton, Brearton, Brewerton, Briereton, and possibly others, this is a famous English medieval surname. It is locational from various places called 'Brereton' in the counties of Staffordshire and Cheshire, and 'Brearton' in West Yorkshire. The place name derivations are slightly different as can be seen from records in the Domesday Book of 1066. Brereton in Cheshire and Brearton in West Yorkshire are recorded as 'Bretone' and 'Brareton' respectively and derive from the Old English pre 7th Century elements 'braer' meaning briar and 'tun', meaning enclosure or settlement. Brereton in Staffordshire is first recorded as 'breredon', the second element being 'dun' meaning hill. The two names would therefore denote one who lived at the settlement where briars grew, or at the briar hill. Early examples of the surname recording include: Richard de Brertona, which was dated 1176, in the Charter Rolls of Yorkshire, whilst the Ballard Roll of chivalry in circa 1461, lists Andrew de Brereton, as being a knight. Sir William Brererton was the Parliamentary command -in-chief for Cheshire in the English Civil War (1640 - 1648). Other interesting recordings associated with the surname are those of: Thomas Bruerton, at the church of St Lawrence Jewry, in the city of London, on September 3rd 1570, John Brereton, who in 1602 was one of the very first settlers in the New World, and William Brewerton, whose son also William, was christened at St Brides church, Fleet Street, in the city of London, on July 17th 1639. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.