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The Browne Irish Roots and Origin

The Browne Irish Roots and Origin

Holywood, Northern IrelandA lot of research is required on the Browne family and their Irish roots, hampered by the devastating destruction of public records, some dating back to the 13th century, during the Battle of Dublin in the Irish Civil War of 1922 (which only lasted one year).  On that fateful day in June 1922 the Public Records Office was destroyed by fire following the detonation of explosives.  However, other records have survived and are rapidly becoming available online for genealogy research so I am hopeful progress can be made.

Browne in Old English and Old French is Brun, a word that is of Germanic origin and means brown as in colour e.g. colour of hair, skin, clothes etc.  Apparently, according to some accounts, the first Browne family settled in Galway, Ireland after the Anglo-Norman Invasion of Ireland in 1172 and that there are family ties to the descendants of Hugh X of Lusignan, Count of La Marche and Isabella of Angouleme 1188-1246 (widow of King John), namely Sir William, the son of William de Valence and grandson of Hugh X of Lusignan (Hugh le Brun, or Hugh the brown). 

However, there are inconstancies with the dates and very little other evidence at this time to substantiate this claim other than that a branch of the Browne family was well established in Galway, Ireland by the 14th century and owned land and castles there including Carrowbrowne castle and Castlebrowne both built in the 14th century and both now ruins.  Castlebrowne was built by the Browne family and later passed to the Lamberts. Apparently Carrowbrowne castle was built by Sir David, supposedly descended from Fromond le Brun, Chancellor of Ireland, 1230, the son of the Sir William mentioned above.  By my reckoning from the data I’ve found Fromond le Brun would have been born about 50 years before his father so although there are strong indications that the Browne family did settle in Ireland as part of the Anglo-Norman invasion, and part of the family may be of Norman descent, at this point it would appear that their settlement in Galway is likely to be closer to the 14th century, when they built their castles, and not as part of the original invasion of 1172.


Relevant site links

[ Browne Family History ][ Origin of Browne ][ Baines Family History ]