The de Brancestre (later, Brancestre and Brancester) name is derived from the town Brancester in Norfolk. In the time of the Romans, the town was of importance for its port. A fortress was built there to protect that part of the coast.
The de Brancester name can be found in records as far back as the early 1200's, when John de Brancester was Vice-Chancellor under Hubert Walter, Chief Justiciar of England.
There are several important branches of the family.
- Richard de Brancestre was the Rector of Banbury in 1300, beginning the family's association with that location.
- Thomas de Brancestre, husband of Agnes, relict of Hugh Missendum, briefly held the manor of Culworth but sold the property in 1375, to settle with trustees of Alice Ferrers, mistress of Edward III.
- John de Brancestre of Colthorpe is believed to have descended from a long line of London traders. As far back as 1276, de Brancestres have appeared on the Hustings Rolls of London as goldsmiths. This branch of the family made important marriages with de la Lees, Danvers, Quartermains and other Warwickshire families.