About The Braunds
The surname Braund is firmly rooted in the south west of England; North Devon in particular. It is a commonly expressed myth that the Braunds, noted for their dark hair, broad heads and brown eyes, descended from local women who married survivors of a Spanish Armada ship, wrecked on the North Devon coast over four hundred years ago. Documentary evidence shows that this is not true; Braunds lived in Devon villages long before the sixteenth century.
We believe that all Braunds share a common ancestry but the records required to prove this have not survived. Our members belong to several branches of the Braund family. A DNA project is supporting the idea that all Braunds are related and is helping us to understand how the different branches may be connected. For more information about the different branches of the family click here. Get to know some of the present day Braunds and their descendants here.
The surname means 'firebrand' and is thought to be Viking in orgin. The earliest references to the Braunds are in Lincolnshire in the 1100s-1400s. The name then dies out in that area and emerges in Devon in the 1400s. Both Lincolnshire and Devon were renowned for sheep farming and drovers' roads link the two counties. Our booklet Before Braundsworthy explains more about the early history of the Braunds. Before spelling was standardised, Braund appears in several ways in the records, including Brawn, Broad, Broan, Bround and Brann. Some branches of the family still use these spellings.
The surname has close associations with the fishing village of Bucks Mills on the North Devon coast, where, at one time, almost every resident was related to the Braunds. Their past ferocity in scaring away prospective newcomers and the natural isolation of the place, contributed to the formation of a tight-knit family colony. There is information about the history of Bucks Mills here.
Well known members of the Braund family include: Captain James Braund ‘King’ of Bucks Mills; Mary Braund, a first fleet convict who escaped in an open boat to Timor Island; Leonard Charles Braund the England cricketer; George Braund the conjuror; John Braund who designed furniture for royal residences; John Braund the Hatherleigh clockmaker; R Allin Braund the artist; William and Thomas Braund who fought at Trafalgar; Lewis and Owen Braund who perished with the Titanic and William Braund the East India Company merchant. We are however just as proud of our ‘ordinary’ Braund ancestors, many of whom were agricultural labourers or fishermen.