| Mary Cottill, Shropshire County
Archivist wrote that the court rolls for the Broughall manor in England
date from the early 14th century. This would make them contemporary to Dr.
Lysaght's references to Wm. Brochal in 1300, Robt. Brohal in 1312, and
Philip Broghale in 1356 in Ireland. Dr. MacLysaght's comment, "the
absence of any of these variants from works on English surnames makes it
improbable that it [the Broughall name] is of English Origin,"
suggests that he had no knowledge of the English family of the same name.
Parish records document the Broughall/Broughill family's existence in
England and most certainly if Dr. MacLysaght were alive today, he would
have to reevaluate his conclusion in light of this new evidence. Obviously
there were two very ancient Broughall families - one in England and one in
Areas where Broughall
Families lived in England and Ireland.
Note their close proximity to one another
| The two
families were only separated by a few miles of the Irish Sea and both
had relatively easy access to a major port - Liverpool in England and
Dublin in Ireland. Surely the two families had a common origin. What was
English historians and
genealogists maintain that brough is an Anglo-Saxon word. The
Angles and Saxons never invaded Ireland, so the name must have first
appeared in England.
occupation of Britain was completed by 600AD, so the fortified
earthworks just east of present day Whitchurch in Shropshire England
were then known as a broughall. Correspondence and research have
yielded no information as to the exact nature and location of these
earthworks. Although the word brough generally referred to Roman
works, England is covered with earthworks. Many were constructed by
Beaker folk and others were later excavated by Celts. It is quite
possible that the broughall in Shropshire predated the Roman
invasions by many, many centuries.
No evidence has so far
been found that even suggests that these earthworks still exist. Were
all traces of them erased by centuries of erosion or did they disappear
in modern times? Marjorie Broughall [See page 8] wrote that she and her
brother visited the village of Broughall in 1946 and found that during
World War II an airfield had been constructed nearby. Did the grading of
airstrips result in the destruction of the ancient earthworks. Only one
thing seems certain: the earthworks were the origin of the Broughall
name later carried by both the village and the family.
Surnames came into being
around the 10th century and a family living at or near these earthworks
adopted Broughall as its surname. Quite possibly the actual earthworks
provided the basis for the surname as the village of Broughall may have
been founded at a later date.
Who were the ancient
inhabitants of Broughall? Over the past two decades anthropologists have
come to realize that the history of Britain has not been one of
successive cultures replacing one another, but rather one of
successive cultures absorbing one another. Richard Leaky in his
book, The Making of Mankind, suggested that the Neanderthal Man
did not actually become extinct, but was more than likely absorbed into
the society of the more advanced Homo erectus.
of Broughall carried a diverse genetic mix. Their homes were so close to
the Welsh border that they probably had a great deal of Celtic blood,
but they probably carried traces of the earlier Windmill Hill people and
Beaker folk and perhaps even Leakey's Neanderthal Man. Soldiers are
soldiers and centuries of Roman occupation no doubt resulted in the
ravishing of many a Celtic girl and resulting offspring. The Angles and
Saxon made their genetic contribution as did the Normans.
Many years ago I realized
that I had a rather odd color mix. My hair was sandy-brown, my
eyebrows were blond (almost white), and my beard was red. I jokingly
asked my mother, "Is there something you haven't told me?"
There could be many origins for the hair color, but the blond eyebrows
may have come from Celt ancestors and the red beard from Anglo-Saxon
ones. It is an interesting theory, and certainly could have been true in
the 10th century, but not today as over the centuries many, many wives
have all made their own genetic contributions.
It seems highly likely that
during the 11th century, one (or more) members of this ancient Broughall
family joined William the Conqueror in his invasion of Ireland. Like
many other soldiers, he re-mained, "becoming more Irish than the
Irish themselves," and he was the progenitor of the ancient Irish
Broughall family. This theory is supported by the fact that most of the
families in the Wicklow-Carlow county area descend from William's
followers. Dr. MacLysaght maintained that the name was a toponymic taken
from Broughal, a townland and electoral district in Offaly, not far from
County Kildare, but added that if he found an instance of it appearing
as de Broughal, he would be satisfied of that. Quite possibly the
Broughal in Offaly took its name from a descendant of that ancient
There was a third
Broughall family. A quick review of the wills reveals that all of the
18th century Broughalls living in Dublin were related. The Boyle
Coat-of-Arms appears on the 1710 County Dublin Will of Thomas Braughill,
suggesting that some time after Roger Boyle acquired the title Baron
Broghill in 1627, one (or more) of his descendants adopted the Broughill
title as his surname. The Parish Records of St. Mary's Abbot,
Kensington, London, show that Roger Broghill or Mary Boyle christened a
son named Charles Broghill in 1674. This interchangeable use of the two
surnames seems to support this theory. Thus the Broughalls of 18th
century Dublin descend from the Boyle family, not the Broughalls of
How does Rev. Hughes'
theory as to the Broughalls of England descending from the Welch Prince
Brochwyll fit into all this? A quick chronology provides the answer. The
Welch Prince fought his battle in 1403, some seven centuries after the
Anglo-Saxon invasion and Broughall receiving its name. The Celtic
(Gallic) language is still very much alive in Wales and more likely than
not, Brochwyll is a Welch/Celt variation of Broughall. Rather than the
village being named after the prince, the prince adopted the name of the
village as his surname, as did others before him..
The Broyhills of the
United States descend from the Broughalls who remained in ancient
Britain, rather than those of ancient Ireland. Radulphi or Radi
Broughall christened two sons at Newcastle-Upon-Lyme in the 1560's, and
he was apparently the father of two other boys, but there is no record
of their christenings. An extensive review of all surviving parish
records suggests that all Broughalls in 17th century England descend
from Radulphi's four sons. They would most certainly include the
Broughalls who came to Virginia in the early 18th century