Brough Family Organization

History of the Broughs of Staffordshire

The "Brough" Name

     The "Brough" family of Staffordshire, England, takes its name from the geographical area of Brough (medieval "Burgh," Latin "Bur gum"), a hamlet in the south of Ranton (alias Ronton) Parish in South Pirehill Hundred of the County of Staffordshire, England. The present Brough Hall stands on the site of the ancient manor house of Brough, close to the ancient boundary with Gnosall Parish.
     The first surviving reference to "Brough" is in the Doomsday Book of 1086. The book states: "The land of Robert de Statford: Robert himself holds in Bu(r)ghale one virgate of land which pertains to Halstone.." "Bu(r)ghale" is taken to represent the Old English "burh halh," or "Brough hamlet." "Burh" or "Brough" itself is a common English placename meaning "camp, fortification, or manorhouse."
      In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary of 1933 lists the following different meanings of the word "Brough": 1) a round tower; 2) the outer wall of a feudal castle; 3) a luminous ring or circle around a shining body, especially the moon; 4) a halo; and 5) several concentric circles, varying from one to fourteen feet in diameter, drawn around each tee (in the game of Quoit, which is somewhat like horseshoes, in which players throw rings at a peg-or tee-in an effort to encircle it).

The Broughs of Staffordshire, England

     The history of the Broughs of Staffordshire, England, begins with the Norman invasion of England. In the Fall of 1066 AD, William, Duke of Normandy (France) crossed the English Channel with about 600 ships and 12,000 men, and defeated King Harold of England and his Anglo-Saxon forces at the Battle of Hastings. On Christmas Day, 1066, William was crowned King of England. William--who was eventually known as William the Conqueror--rewarded his Norman supporters with large grands of land and important positions, including the granting of many estates to Baron Ralph de Limesi (Limesy).

     In 1199 AD, Philip fitz Bishop, a great-grandson of Ralph de Limesi, adopted the surname "de Burgo" from the geographical area of "Burgh," a hamlet in Ronton--now Ranton--in southern Staffordshire in central England. (Ranton is located about five miles west of Stafford.) In the mid-1200's, the name "de Burgo" was eventually changed to "de Burgh."

     In the 1400's, the de Burghs had established themselves in the areas of Ranton, Brewood and Gnosall, Staffordshire. By the early 1500's, several de Burgh families had moved northward and settled in the Leekfrith area of northern Staffordshire. In the late 1500's through the 1600's, the name "Burgh" gradually changed to "Brough."
     The early ancestors of the Broughs of Leekfrith, Staffordshire have been extensively researched, and although there are still unanswered questions about their ancestry it presently appears that their lineage may have been as follows:
          Ralph de Limesi, b.abt.1040, of Alost, Limesy, Normandy, France
          Robert de Limesi, b.abt.1068/1078, of Chester, Cheshire
          Mr. de Limesi, b.abt.1110, of Brough Hall, Ranton, Staffordshire
          Hamon de Burgo, b.abt.1145, of Ranton, Staffordshire
          Hamon de Burgo b.abt.1172, of Ranton, Staffordshire
          Hamon de Burgo, b.abt.1205, of Gnosall, Staffordshire
          John de Burgo, b.abt.1239, of Ranton, Staffordshire; married Alice
          Elias de Burgh, b.abt.1275, of Ranton, Staffordshire
          William de Burgh, b.abt.1305, of Ranton, Staffordshire
          Elias de Burgh, b.abt.1345, of Ranton, Staffordshire; married Alice
          Elias de Burgh, b.abt.1380, of Brewood, Staffordshire; married Isabel
          Reginald de Burgh, b.abt.1415, of Brewood, Staffordshire; married Joan
          Richard de Burgh, b.abt.1450, of Brewood, Staffordshire; married Alice
               Richard and Alice de Burgh had at least three sons: Thomas Burgh (b.abt.1480), Robert Burgh                (b.abt.1488), and William Burgh (b.abt.1496). These three sons married, had children, and
               settled in the Leekfrith area of northern Staffordshire.

     In the early 1500's, several related Brough families established more than half a dozen principal "Brough Houses" on the Leekfrith--a large fertile green valley in the northern Staffordshire Moorlands that is bordered by hills and rocky outcroppings. (The Leekfrith is only a few miles from the town of Leek, Staffordshire.)

These "Brough Houses" generally contained significant buildings and land holdings, and were known by their geographical locations on the Leekfrith. Their names included: Brownsword, Chapel House, Lower Hulme, Middle Hulme, New Grange, Roche Grange, Upper Hulme, Waterhouse and Windygates. It is the Brough Houses of Middle Hulme, Waterhouse and Windygates from which many members of the Richard Brough Family Organization (RBFO) decend. (Footnote: Ann Brough Hind has written, "These 'Brough Houses'--or Medieval Hall-houses for lesser gentry and yeomen with significant land-holdings--included Brownsword, Middlehulme, Waterhouse and Windygates. Chapel House and the New and Roche Granges were bought from Dieulacres monastic manor after 1538.")

     From the early 1500's to the present, the descendants of the Broughs of Leekfrith have continued to live in northern Staffordshire and nearby counties. Between 1500 and 1650, the Broughs of Leekfrith used the "Brough" Coat of Arms of "Argent (white), on a saltire (diagonal cross) of sable (or black), five swans of the first (five white swans)".
     In the 1700's, several Brough families moved from the Leekfrith into the nearby areas and/or parishes of Biddulph, Burslam, Congleton, Horton, Ipstones, Longton, Rushton Spencer, Trentham and Wolstanton.
     During the 1800's and early 1900's, a number of descendants from various Brough-related families in Staffordshire--including some of the descendents of Richard Brough and Mary Horleston--left England and emigrated to the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Specific Historical Information

Maps of Staffordshire, England
Early Broughs of Staffordshire: 1055 to 1510 (pictorial)
Early Broughs of Staffordshire: 1055 to 1510 (written)
Pedigree of the Early Broughs of Staffordshire: 1055 to 1510
Possible Ancestry of Ralph de Limesi (b.1055); and Robert de Limesi: 1086-1154
Broughs of Leekfrith, Staffordshire and their Descendants: 1300's to the Present:
     Early Broughs of Leekfrith: 1300's to 1500's
     Thomas Burgh of Windygates, Leekfrith: 1480-1550
     John Burgh of Middle Hulme, Leekfrith, and His Descendants: 1450 to Present
     Richard Burgh of Windygates, Leekfrith, and His Descendants: 1450 to Present
     Ralph Brough of Waterhouse, Leekfrith, and His Descendants: 1450 to Present
     Richard Burgh of New Grange, Leekfrith, and His Descendants: 1450 to Present
     Other Broughs of the Leekfrith and their Descendants: 1450 to Present     
     Broughs of Dresden, Staffordshire, and their English and American Descendants
     Broughs of Gnosall, Staffordshire, and their English and American Descendants
Pedigrees of the Later Broughs of Staffordshire, 1450 to 2004
Photographs of Historical Brough Sites in Staffordshire, England
History of Richard Brough (b.1786) and Mary Horleston (b.1799) and their Descendants
English and Australian Descendants of Richard Brough and Rosannah Myatt
History of Thomas Brough and Jean (Jane) Paterson
     History of Samuel Richard Brough and His Two Wives and Their Children
History of Elizabeth Brough and her two Husbands: Samuel Cartlidge and Enoch Tipton
History of Mary Ann (Marian) Brough and Robert Evans
History of Samuel Brough and Elizabeth Bott
Infamous Brough Crimes and Criminals

BFO International Headquarters
115 East 800 North, Bountiful, Utah, 84010, USA.