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Origin of Surname

The origins of the Brehauts in Guernsey are somewhat obscure. It is believed that the family came from Brittany, there being de Brehaults in that part of France as late as 1668 . The story goes that the first Brehaut came to the island in a worm-eaten old boat. In connection with this, a rude little ditty that other children taunted little Brehaut children with ran thus: Berhaout, Berhaout, La maire est haoute, Et ton bate, Qu’est plloin d’magaots!

However that may be, it is certain that the Brehauts have been established in Guernsey for centuries. It is interesting to note that the Extente of 1331 spells the name Brehault, according to the Ile-de-France or Parisian dialect which was adopted a century earlier as the correct French, whereas locally we always use the older Norman pronunciation and say ‘Berhaut’ as we do another old German surname Brouard, which we pronounce Berouard. This placing of the vowel ‘E’ before the consonant ‘R’ is one of the major difference between Norman and Parisian French.

Torteval appears to have been ‘the cradle of their race’ in Guernsey. At the time of the Extente of 1331 six of the eight tenants of the Fief des Huit Bouvées in that parish were of the name. Four of the six bore the Christian name Jean. There have been Jean Brehauts in Torteval ever since. None are then mentioned in any other parish, but by the end of the following century the Brehauts had become established in several of the country parishes, even as far as the Càtel.

Printed with the permission of La Société Guernesiaise From: A Brehaut Family some 400 years ago By Marie De Garis, La Société Guernesiaise Transactions 17:3 (1963 for 1962), 319-30. ISSN 01441973.--Aussie 11:32, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

The surname Brehaut in Guernsey can be traced back to Torteval in the Extente des Iles (1331).


  • Brehault

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