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2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

This web page is a one name study of the surname Brimson & its variants such as Brinson. I collect any data on the surnames & have collected quite a substantial amount of data. I have even been able to link up lost families. It started about 1987 via heraldry in Oxford. I wondered if there was a Brimson coat of arms. There was a stall in the Clarendon Shopping Centre in Oxford. What is called bucket shop heraldry. My brother & I paid a small amount & two weeks later we received a coat of arms. I researched these arms & found they were for someone with the name Brim, which I believe is Scottish. I then visited the library again more times to find out more on the name Brimson. It has since snowballed into a one name study.

Variant names

Variations of the surname are Brinson & Brenson. The surname Brimston, Brimstone & Brinstone may also be a variant. These latter names are much rarer but have not been found in the areas where the main variants have been found

Name origin

The name is of Norman origin from Breancon. This being a small village about 25 Km north west of Paris. The early family is well documented in Essex from 1066 to about 1366. In fact they owned several manor€™s, including West Thurrock & Aveley. The family are mentioned in many document€™s but a history is given in The Victoria History of the County of Essex, Vol. VIII.
'This family came from Briencun, Normandy & has left it's name in Brimstone Hill in Little Wakering, Essex. New Hall Purleigh was formerly called from them Breaunsons'.

A Dictionary of English Surnames: Reaney & Wilson

Historical occurrences of the name

I started a family history about 1987. I always wondered where the family came from. My brother & I were the only Brimson's at school in Oxford & for many years were the only Brimson's in the telephone directory in Oxford. My late father said his aunt Louise traced the family history back to Normandy. This would have been the 1920s or 30s when my father was a boy. She lived in Tiverton in Devon where my branch of the Brimson's had lived for 400 years. She apparently traced the family due to a will in Chicago, USA. Until I started to trace the family history it became clear this may have been the will of William George Brimson who was born in Tiverton but emigrated with his parents & family in the 1850's.

The early family is well documented in Essex until the late 1300's. After this nothing is known of the early family.

The Victoria History Of the County Of Essex: vol. VIII, page 59, West Thurrock.

MANORS. Doomsday Book lists 7 separate estates in Thurrock. One held by the bishop of London, was in Little Thurrock. Another held by William Peverel, was in Grays Thurrock. The largest, held by the count of Eu, became the manor of West Thurrock. Three estates held by Odo, bishop of Bayeux, & one held by Terry Pointell, cannot be certainly identified. They were probably not in West Thurrock, unless one of them can be identified with the latter tenement of Mitchell'€™s. The manor of West Thurrock or West Hall seems to originally to have comprised most of the parish, but was gradually reduced in size by the formation of later manors. It was held in 1066 by Earl, later King Harold as 13 hides & in 1086 by Robert, count of Eu, in demesne. The tenancy in chief descended with the honour of Hastings. The demesne tenancy was held from the 12th to 14th century by the family of Brinson (de Breaunzon, Brianzun), who were descended from the count€™s of EU. In 1198 the manor was granted to Bartholomew Brinson as part of a family settlement in which Walter de Cambrun & his wife received lands in France formerly held by Thomas Brinson, son of Robert of Eu. Robert was the brother of Henry of Eu (d 1140), count of Eu. About 1210 Bartholomew Brinson was holding a knight'€™s fee in West Thurrock. He had died by 1212, leaving an heir under age. A later Bartholomew Brinson was holding the manor in 1262 & 1268. He or a namesake, died in 1286, leaving William Brinson , his infant son & heir. The wardship of William, after passing through several hands, was acquired in 1291 by Walter Langton, rector of West Thurrock, later treasurer of England & bishop of Litchfield. In the following years Langton was closely associated with the Brinson€™s in both West Thurrock & Aveley. William Brinson came of age c 1305, & died holding the two manors in 1310. West Thurrock descended with Aveley until the death of Joan Brinson in 1339.

Name frequency

THIS DATABASE is an extract of an Office of National Statistics database, and contains a list of surnames in use in England, Wales and the Isle of Mann in September 2002. The list contains almost 270,000 surnames, shared by 54.4 million people.

Surname Count Ranking

BRIMSON 584 =10051
BRINSON 202 =21183
BRENSON 67 =42509

This list includes adults & children.

Distribution of the name

In the last 300 to 400 years the Brimson's have lived in the west country of England. The largest group if I may call it that though it is still rare, lived in the Frome area of Somerset. Before this there were some in the Maiden Bradley & Stourton areas of Wiltshire. In the 19th century some of these migrated to London & Bristol.

My own branch is from Tiverton in Devon where our family have lived since the 1560's & are mentioned in the early parish registers for St Peter's Church. They never seem to be plentiful & account for a few families. By the 20th century there were no families living there. My great grandfather moved to Cardiff after supposedly hitting the vicar (this is what my father told me).

Outside the UK the largest group of Brimson's are in Western Australia, though I have only found 2 convicts. The majority emigrated.

In the USA there are only a couple of families in such states as Florida, Texas & Idaho.

The Brinson's have lived in Dorset for hundreds of years too around the towns of Bridport & Beaminster. In the USA the surname is more common than the UK. The settlers came from the Virginia area & one branch are said to be descended from a Thomas Brinson of Wanstead, Essex. However there are no parish registers from the 1600's when they date from so this cannot be verified.


I have all the birth, death & marriage from Myddleton House in London. This is where the births index's from England & Wales are kept from 1837 to the present. I also have all the Brimson, Brinson & Brenson wills from 1866 to 2002. There are 2 earlier wills in the 1700's from the PCC will index which I also have. I also collect just about anything else & some kind people have even sent me too.


The Y DNA test tells you about your direct male line, which would be your father, his father, and back in time.  You must be male to take this test, and you should have one of the surnames shown.  If you believe there is a Brimson or variant Brinson in your direct male line, although you have a different surname, you are also welcome to participate.  If you are female, you will need to find a direct line male in your family tree to participate and represent your tree
The Brimson DNA Project welcomes all participants. We encourage you to join today!.