Hi liz Moore and other Britnells.....and relatives;
Chinnor, for those who don't know is a small town in Oxfordshire, close to Princes Risborough in Buckinghamshire and between the villages of Aston Rowant and Bledlow, all four being along the line of the B4009 road, the former Icknield Way of Roman times and the prehistoric Ridgeway track that crossed England, see my last message for my pet theory as to where and how the Britnell's originate.For those readers who are not in Englandor in possession of an English road book I would recommend a visit to www.streetmap.co.uk an excellent site on which all the villages and towns I have referred to can be found and the relationship appreciated.
My wife has just started a Geneological Certificate course at the Institute of Heraldic and Geneological Studies here in Canterbury;on her first day the lecturer asked names and offered opinions...on being told Britnell he responded that the origin would be Britwell from Brechtwell, Old English or Anglo-Saxon for Bright Well or clear water,all of which brings me back to the Britwell or Brightwell villages on the Bucks/Berks/Oxon borders.
SO.....Britnell's or Bretnell's could all be the same, derived from the same word.
In the near future my wife and I will be rearching the telephone directories of England, initial research indicates that most Britnells are concentrated in small areas of the country, where the greatest concentrations exist is the most likely source of origin for unusual names, I'll let you all know what I find out.