The Braund Society was the brainchild of Cyril John Braund. When he retired back to his native Bideford he was meeting other Braunds but did not know how they were related. He wanted to form a society to unite the family and to promote the study of the history, biography and genealogy of the Braunds. In 1982, the inaugural meeting attracted over 200 Braunds and Braund descendants to the New Inn in Bideford. Chris Braund, founder member and society chairman, says, “They told us it would never last but here we are, forty years later, with a worldwide membership and still going strong. We have reunited at least twice a year since that first meeting in 1982, although COVID forced us wholly online in 2020 and for the first half of 2021. We’ve also held reunions in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.”
The 40th anniversary of the founding of the society is being celebrated, both in North Devon and online, between 29th April and 3rd May with an exhibition of Braund memorabilia, talks, quizzes, outings, a church service and social events. Full details about the Braund family history, The Braund Society and the reunion can be found on the newly revamped society website at www.braundsociety,org. Chris continues, “We try to cater for all ages at our reunions. Our website has a special section for younger Braunds, with puzzles, competitions and activities.”
The surname Braund is firmly rooted in the West Country; North Devon in particular. Society historian, Janet Few, says, “We have been researching all those with the surname Braund, or its variant spellings, for over forty years and have collected information about approximately 7000 historic Braunds. The majority of them can be attached to one of our family trees, which all have their origins in Devon or eastern Cornwall. We believe that all Braunds are related and DNA tests support this theory but the documents that would prove this have not survived. We don’t have all the answers but we like to think that if anyone can trace your Braund ancestry, we can. One thing we are sure about, is that the rumour that the Braunds descend from sailors wrecked from a Spanish Armada ship is nonsense. The Braunds were in Devon 150 years before the Armada.”
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.