This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places in the North of England which derive their name from the Olde English pre 7th Century "braer", briar, with "tun", enclosure, homestead, settlement. These places include: Brereton near Sandbach in Cheshire, recorded as "Bretone" in the Domesday Book of 1086; Brereton in South East Staffordshire, appearing as "Brereton" in the 1279 Close Rolls of that county; Brearton in the West Riding of Yorkshire, entered as "Brareton" in the Domesday Book, and as "Brierton" in the 1187 Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, also, Brierton near Hartlepool, Durham, recorded as "Brereton" in 1317. Locational surnames were originally given to local landowners of some standing, to the lord of the manor, and also as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Alexander de Breretone, witness in the 1242 Assize Court Rolls of Durham, and William de Brerton, carpenter, noted in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York, dated 1313. In the modern idiom the name is spelt: Brearton, Breerton, Brereton and Brierton. On August 3rd 1634, Thomas Brierton, an infant, was christened at St. Alphago, Greenwich, Kent. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a black cross patonce, charged with five bezants, between two black bars, on a silver shield, the Crest being a red dragon with wings expanded on an azure chapeau, turned up ermine. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Brertona, which was dated 1176, in the "Early Yorkshire Charters", 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.