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I am a descendant of the Bruntons of Southwick, as your ancestor almost certainly was. Thomas Brunton, shipbuilder, coal-owner and lime burner (1771-1837) was established in Southwick, married Margery Preston in 1799, and is commemorated in Monkwearmouth Parish church by a plaque. His eldest son Thomas was Sunderland's first town clerk, and his second John (1802-1867) from which I am descended, was a Lloyds Surveyor and later a Shipbroker, of central Sunderland. There were others of that family, some of which had unusual names like `Preston' after maiden names.
If you can find the link I can supply info that goes back to the 15th century. Meanwhile, I will look in my own records to see if there is a connection.