All the information that Christine and I have discovered and which is part of the following Bretton Family History has been given the appropriate attribution but we have little information on the the source of much of the work of Dom Hugh Bowler (apart from his very comprehensive bibliography on John Bretton) and Rowland Bretton, who carried out extensive correspondence in the early 1950’s, and it is through Dom Hugh that we have the family tree for the period around 1400’s/1600’s. The gap in the direct descent through the Bretton line is the subject of (perpetually) continuing research, as it has been for the past 30 years.

The line back to Ricardus Askenaldus (1000’s period) leaves the Brettons and continues through the Wentworth family thanks to the work of Dorothy Edson, who  worked back through John Bretton’s (the Martyr’s) wife, the former Frances Wentworth and back through the Wentworths. It is a matter of great satisfaction that the lines diverged from Adam fitz Swein (1100’s) children only to link again through the marriage of John Bretton and Frances Wentworth.

We have no idea just how many families are descended from the original Ricardus Askenaldus but judging by the approximate 31 possible generations since Ricardus there could be a lot. If alternate generations each had one son and the next had two sons then there could be 32,768 separate branches of the original Bretton family – and many of them will have a variation on the surname eg Bratton, Briton, Britton, Britain, Brittain, Brettoner, Brettain, Brattaine, Brettan, Breton. In the late 1700’s alone, in the Thornhill Parish Registers which cover the area we live (Flockton) eight of these spellings were found which are quite certainly mis-spellings of the name Bretton.  The most famous “Bretton” John Bretton the Roman Catholic Martyr, was called Britton in some of the records of his martyrdom.

There could, therefore, be a lot of people doing family history research, now or in the future, who may make a connection to our Bretton line and it would be a tragedy if, having proved such a link,  these people had a family history dating back 1000  years and never knew about it. By making it available to as many people as possible will maybe obviate this sort of problem. We have no doubt that some people will be sceptical about something in the history but we have been meticulous in giving our sources and only factual information has been included. We have used neither guesswork nor our imaginations. Of necessity we have had to accept the historical information of a lot of people but this is true of any historical work and we have to assume that the Venerable Bede, for example, chronicled factual events of his time and was not an 8th century William Shakespeare, or Robert J. Parker.

If you have any connection with the family or are researching any such connection – then here is your history.

Stan and Christine Bretton

December, 2000


Update – January 2018

Unfortunately 2017 saw the passing of both our parents, Stan and Christine Bretton. Dad wanted the site to continue to be online and so it will. We can’t promise to be able to help anywhere near as much as our parents could with regard to the research they did, which was done during the most of our lifetime, but we will do what we can to answer any questions you may have.

We have vague memories of spending time in cemeteries looking at gravestones and Mum and Dad searching through church records – and you are about to see the result of many many years of work on their part. I have updated the contact page with my own contact information (Elizabeth), and also the information contained on this site is mirrored on

Kath and Elizabeth Bretton