Is Your Name - Brereton?

One of the most notable Manorial families of Cheshire were the Breretons, described by the author Fred H. Crossley as "just as contumacious in spirit" as the Mainwarings, featured in the last issue.
The Brereton Christian name, he tells us, was usually William, both in the main and branch lines, and the innumerable Williams are apt to be both confusing and misleading.

The main Brereton line was in being during the reign of Henry I, but it was the ninth Sir William who succeeded in obtaining a grant to hold a market at Brereton in 1367/8.

The tenth Sir William was ordered to raise a band of Cheshire archers to defend the Prince of Wales' possessions along the Welsh borderland against Owen Glendower. In 1407 he was appointed sheriff and also fought in France.

A branch of the family was established in Ashley and another in Malpas.

From Sir Urian Brereton came estates in Handforth. Sir Urian was escheator of Cheshire, one of the privy grooms to Henry VIII and knighted at Leith, in 1544. He rebuilt Handforth Hall in 1562. The next William was Sheriff of Chester in 1590, but perhaps the most famous was his great grandson, the Parliamentary General, Sir William Brereton who received much booty from the Commonwealth, including Croydon Palace, the residence of Archbishop Laud.

Brereton Hall, "the stately house of Brereton, as Webb called it, was built in 1585, at Brereton Green by William Brereton of Brereton. It was unusual for its day in Cheshire, being of brick and not half-timbered.

A feature was twin octagonal towers flanking an entrance arch and this may have been adapted from Rocksavage Hall, long since demolished, but once standing on a cliff overlooking the River Weaver, near to Runcorn. Rocksavage Hall was built around 1565 by Sir John Savage and as William Brereton of Brereton knew the property well (he married Sir John's daughter, Margaret) it is believed he copied part of the design.

The Breretons of Brereton line became extinct in 1722 and the estates passed to the Holtes of Aston Hall. In 1817 both the Aston and Brereton estates were sold. Brereton Hall was purchased by John Howard of Hyde who made drastic changes. In modern times Brereton Hall became a private school.