Footnote from a book titled "Horseley Family of Melbourne and Derby from 1760" written by Richard Horsley Osborne in 1995. 

1.  The surname "Brentnall" seems to have been localized in the Derby-Nottingham area and the intervening Erewash valley.  P. Hanks and F Hodges in A dictionary of Surnames (Oxford, 1988) state that it is "of uncertain origin, possibly a habitation name (probably in Notts., where the surname is most common)" and that it derives from" an Old English personal name Branta and halh ("nook" or "recess').

In the Erewash valley the surname occurs a number of times at Ilkeston in 16th and 17th century records, and other Brentnalls were also recorded in the adjoining villages of Little Hallam and Shipley. (E Trueman and R. W Marston, History of Ilkeston, together with Dale Abbey, Kirk Hallam, West Hallam, Shipley and Cossall, Ilkeston, 1899).

The Derbyshire Hearth Tax returns show that 9 Brentnall householders were assessable in the whole of the county, 1 being in Ilkeston, 3 in Shipley, 3 in other neighbouring parishes and 2 in the Peak District. (D. G. Edwards, ed., “Derbyshire Hearth Tax Assessments, 1662-70", Derbyshire Record Society, 7,1982). The Nottinghamshire Hearth Tax returns show only 1 Brentnall (at Kirkby, near the Derbyshire border) and 1 "Brentney", at Dunham in the north-east of the county. (W. F Webster, ed., `'Nottinghamshire Hearth Tax, 1664-1674", Thoroton Society Record Series, 37,1988).

The present author has analysed the geographical distribution of all Brentnall deaths in England and Wales during the period mid-1837 (when civil registration was introduced) to mid-1847.  (It is assumed that the distribution would reflect that of the Brentnall population as a whole).    

Over half the national deaths occurred in a cluster of 6 Registration Districts embracing Derby, Nottingham, and the towns and villages of the Erewash valley. In addition there was some representation in Chesterfield and Sheffield R.Ds. to the north. On the other side of the Pennines there was a secondary concentration in the Stockport and Altrincham R.Ds. of north-east Cheshire, with some representation to the south in north Staffordshire in the Stoke-on-Trent R.D. There was also a small concentration of "Brentnalls" (no first "n") in Thetford R.D., on the NorfolkSuffolk border. London, as the capital and by far the largest city, had inevitably attracted a small contingent.

The results of the analysis may be summarized as follows:-

    Nottingham-Derby-Erewash valley (6 R.Ds.)    57
    Chesterfield and Sheffield R.Ds.    7
    Stockport, Altrincham and Stoke-on-Trent R.Ds.    21
    Thetford R.D. ("Bretnall")    7
    London    6
    Other     12

    Total:  110

2.  A whitesmith was originally a worker in "white iron", i.e. a tinsmith, but the term came to be applied more generally to a skilled finisher or fabricator of goods in any metal, as distinct from a blacksmith doing iron-forging work only.

3.  A "George Brentnall, nail maker" of Milton St., was listed in a local directory (Sutton) in 1815 and again in 1818, although then living in Mansfield Rd. This did not necessarily imply any change of address as Milton St. is, in effect, the beginning of Mansfield Rd. However, in 1828 he was listed under "Blacksmiths" at both Glasshouse St. (near Milton St.) and Bell Foundry Yard. In 1831 he was listed under "Whitesmiths" at Bellfounders Yard. This was one of the long narrow alleys connecting Long Row (the north aide of the Market Square) to Parliament St. He was listed for the last time in any directory in 1842, still as a whitesmith, but at Pennell's Yard, Long Row. (Pennell's Yard was next to Bellfounders Yard).    

Much of the Milton St.-Glasshouse St. area was demolished in the late 1890s in order lo provide a route (in a cutting) for the Great Central railway and for its associated "Victoria" station (replaced about 1970 by the "Victoria" shopping centre). Bellfounders Yard too was swept away in a late 19th-century clearance scheme, which also involved the creation of Queen St. and King St. It is therefore highly unlikely that any vestige now remains of George Brentnall's homes and/or working premises.

4.  In the baptismal entries for his older children George is described as "nailer", resident at either Milton St. or Boot Lane (an earlier name, then being superseded, for Milton St.). For the later entries (1822 and 1825) his address is given as Glasshouse St. and by 1825 his occupation had changed to that of "whitesmith". "Thus the information about George's occupation and location provided in contemporary directories is compatible-with that given about him in the parish register of baptisms.  Although George moved to Nottingham from Horsley as a newly-married man (in 1811), it is quite possible that there were already family members living in Nottingham. Thus a William Brentnall, nail maker of Boot Lane, is listed in a directory of 1814 (but not thereafter).  (Might he perhaps have been George's father or uncle?). At a much later date (1844) a Thomas Brentnall is listed as a blacksmith on Greyhound St. (another narrow street leading off Long Row).   Brentnall was a not uncommon name in Nottingham. For instance, during the period when George's children were baptized (1811-1825) four other Brentnall couples also had children baptized at St. Mary's