The surname of BRANCHETT was a locational name 'of Branch' a spot in County Wiltshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Habitation names are derived from names denoting towns, villages, farmsteads or other named places, which include rivers, houses with signs on them, regions, or whole counties. The original bearer of the name who stayed in his area might be known by the name of his farm, or the locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another county could aquire the name of that county or the region from which he originated. Early records of the name mention BRANCHE (without surname) who was recorded in Wiltshire in the year 1185, and Peter Branchett was documented in County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Edward Braunchett of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Braunche, who was documented in Lancashire in 1400. John Prince and Mary Branch were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in the year 1720. During the 17th century surnames were brought to Britain, North America and southern Africa by French Huguenot exiles. The Huguenots were French Protestants, and in 1572 large numbers of them were massacred in Paris on the orders of Queen Catherine de'Medici. Many of the survivors sought refuge in England and elsewhere. Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. It was then the trickle of emigration became a flood. Many migrated to England, while others joined groups of Dutch Protestants settling around the Cape of Good Hope. Others sailed across the Atlantic to establish themselves in North America.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The name is also spelt Braunche and Branche.
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