When friends and relatives come to visit they always ask about the town of Braintree and where the name comes from. I think most towns in the early colonies were named for places in England, and Braintree is one of those. While reading one of my British mysteries The town of Braintree came up as a location. So I went to Wikipedia to see if I could finally answer the question that everyon asks. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the origin of the name:
The origin of the name Braintree is obscure. One theory is that Braintree was originally Branoc’s tree, Branoc apparently being an ancient name. Another theory is that the name is derived from that of Rayne, which was actually the more important settlement in Norman times. Braintree, Essex was also called Brantry and Branchetreu in the Domesday Book and this means “town by the river”. The River Brain is another possible origin. “Tree” comes from the Saxon suffix, more usually spelt “try”, denoting a big village. In many early American Colonial documents, it is referred to as Branktry. The name “Braint” is well attested as a river name in Britain; there is a river of that name in Anglesey, and it may be conjectured that it was the name of the Blackwater in pre-Saxon times, although the Celtic name “Bran” is also used widely for rivers (derived from the British word for a crow and thought to refer to the dark or crow-black appearance of such a river, making it a good fit for a river now called “Blackwater”). Here again, the reference to a river would indicate that Braintree literally means “town (or village) by the river”. The suffix to either Braint or Bran is the common Britonnic “Tre” widely found in Wales and Cornwall, but also noted in towns such as Daventree, with the meaning of initially a farm or settlement and later a town. Another variation can be seen in various Medieval Latin legal records, where it appears as “Branktre”.
See Wikipedia for more information about “Braintree, Essex”
I hope that helps to answer all those questions.