This surname BREAKWELL is of English origin, a locational name 'the dweller by the newly cultivated land', which was a minor habitation place (probably in the West Midlands), where the surname is commonest, although the spelling BREAKELL is found in County Lancashire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Edwin Brekewell, 1273, County Lancashire. Richard Breakwelle was documented in Lancashire in the year 1300 and Richard de Brekwell of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Simon de Breakwell, 1400 County Yorkshire. The names introduced into Britain by the Normans during and in the wake of the Invasion of 1066, are nearly all territorial in origin. The followers of William the Conqueror were a pretty mixed lot, and while some of them brought the names of their castles and villages in Normandy with them, many were adventurers of different nationalities attached to William's standard by the hope of plunder, and possessing no family or territorial names of their own. Those of them who acquired lands in England were called by their manors, while others took the name of the offices they held or the military titles given to them, and sometimes, a younger son of a Norman landowner, on receiving a grant of land in his new home dropped his paternal name and adopted that of his newly acquired property. The name is also spelt as Brekewell and Breakwelle. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
The arms depicted here have been per-paled BREAK and WELL.
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