The Bramhill Name

The history of this ancient Cheshire family traces its ancestry as a family of Anglo Saxon origin before the year 1100 and appears first in the ancient records in Cheshire.


This surname BRAM is of the locational group of names derived from Braham, a small spot in the West Riding of Yorkshire. There is also Braham Farm in Cambridge, and Brantham in Sussex, from whence the name may have been taken. The name was anciently spelt BRAMHAMM, and literally meant one who lived by the Broom-covered hill. During the Middle Ages it was customary for a man to be named from the village where he lived, or from the land that he owned. This name would identify his whole family and followed them wherever they moved.

The earliest mention of the name on record appears to be Bram (without surname) who was 1isted in the Doomsday Book of 1086. Braham (without surname) appears in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1242. Eustace de Braham was recorded in 1189 in County Essex and Mathew de Brameham appears in County Yorkshire in 1219. Roger de Breem appears in County Suffolk in 1273 and Roger de Bream in London in 1280. Agnes de Brame of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379.

Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.

A notable member of the name was John Braham (1774 - 1856) the English tenor, born in London. He had his first great success at Drury Lane in 1796, and for half a century held the reputation of being one of the world's greatest tenors. He squandered a fortune by purchasing the Colosseum in Regent's Park and building the St. James's Theatre. John Gray and Hannah Braham were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1805.

APMS: Gules on a chevron argent between three talbot's heads erased or as many mullets sable

PEST: A cubit arm erect vested bendy wavy of four azure and gules holding in the hand proper a fish argent



A surname is an additional name added to the proper name. The keeping of records, whether for taxation or land transfer, required an exact identification of the individual which made surnames essential and removed the need for long descriptions to be attached to the personal name. It is impossible to state at what precise period names began to descend hereditarily but it is believed to have been during the early Middle Ages. Surnames have different origins. The most numerous were those derived from the occupation of the father; others derived from the place a person lived, the first name of the father or from a characteristic or quality of the individual.

The English surname BRAMHALL is local in origin, being one of those names based on the place where a man once lived or where he once held land. In this case the surname is derived from the Old English word "brom", meaning "dweller by the broom-covered nook". Obviously, the original bearer of this surname resided in or beside such an area where broom and bramble grew. The suffix of this surname, "hall", is derived from the Old English "haugh" which in fact has the same meaning as "bram".

BRAMHALL is a place name in Chesire and it is quite possible that the surname originated from this area. Variants of this surname include Bramall, Brammall, Brammald and Broomhall, all of which are widely dispersed throughout the country, but are especially frequent in Chesire and Sheffield. An early-recorded instance of this surname occurs in 1221 when one Robert de Bramhal is recorded in Worcestershire (Assize Rolls). Another instance occurs in 1543 when one Thomas Brammall is recorded in Sheffield (A descriptive catalogue of Sheffield Manorial Records). Arms were granted by one Segar Norroy to John BRAMHALL, Alderman of Pontefract, County Yorkshire in the year 1602.

BLAZON OP ARMS: Sable, a lion rampant or.

CREST: A lion passant or.

TRANSLATION: The lion denotes Strength, Generosity and Courage.

ORIGIN: England

Note: From Heritage Pride name survey services.