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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Bunkley family come from? What is the English Bunkley family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bunkley family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bunkley family history?

The name Bunkley came to England with the ancestors of the Bunkley family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bunkley family lived in Suffolk at Bungay, a market town that dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Bunghea, probably derived from the Old English personal name + inga + eg and meant "island of the family or followers of a man called Buna." [1] Another reference claims the placename was derived from the term "le-bon-eye," signifying "the good island," as it was nearly surrounded by the river Waveney, which was once a broad stream. Soon after the Norman Conquest, a castle was built, which, from its situation and the strength of its fortifications, was deemed impregnable by its possessor, Hugh Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, in the reign of Stephen; but that monarch, in the 6th of his reign, in the year 1140, came with his army and took it. Over the years Bungay Castle has fallen into ruins, but in 1934 the amateur archaeologist Leonard Cane convinced people that a restoration was needed. Today it is owned by the Bungay Castle Trust.

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Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Bungey, Bungay, Bunker, Bunkar, Bunkey, Bunkay, Bungy and many more.

First found in Suffolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Bungay at the time of the Norman Conquest of England by Duke William of Normandy in 1066 A.D. Conjecturally they are descended from William de Noyers who held the lands of Bungay from the King. At the time of the taking of the Domesday Book survey in 1086 the holdings consisted of 4 Churches, 2.5 mills, 60 goats and 100 sheep. Bungay Castle was built by the Norman Earl Hugh Bigod in the 12th century.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bunkley research. Another 79 words(6 lines of text) covering the years 158 and 1588 are included under the topic Early Bunkley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Bunkley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Bunkley or a variant listed above:

Bunkley Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • John Bunkley, who arrived in Virginia in 1657
  • John Bunkley, who landed in Virginia in 1657

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  • Brodrick Bunkley (b. 1983), American NFL football nose tackle for the New Orleans Saints
  • Darren Bunkley, American Primetime Emmy Award winning producer, known for his work on The Amazing Race (2001), 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd (1999) and Phil of the Future (2004)


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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  8. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Bunkley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bunkley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 22 December 2013 at 15:04.

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