Bernell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of England produced the name of Bernell. It was given to a person with brown hair or a dark complexion. The surname Bernell is derived from the Old English word burnel. This word comes from the Old French word brunel, which is a diminutive of the Old French word brun. Normally a nickname, Bernell was also used as a personal name.

Early Origins of the Bernell family

The surname Bernell was first found in Shropshire where they were a family of great antiquity. They held a family seat at Acton Burnell in the county of Salop where they were found as early as 1087 according to Dugdale. They also acquired Holgate in the same shire and one of the first on record was Lesire le Burnell, whose son Robert Burnell (1239-1292) was Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1275 and Lord Chancellor of England from 1274-1292. He was "descended from a knightly family in Shropshire, and was born at their seat of Acton Burnell, near Shrewsbury. After he became famous the monks of Buildwas forged a genealogy which traced his family back to the Conquest." [1]

Another branch of the family was found in the parish of Sibthorpe in Nottinghamshire. "This place was anciently of some importance, and was the residence of the Burnell family, of whose spacious mansion, however, no remains now exist." [2]

The parish of Acton-Burnell is of great importance to the family too. "This place, which is of considerable antiquity, is on a branch of the Roman Watling-street. It takes the adjunct to its name from the family of Burnell, of whom Robert, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and Lord High Chancellor in the reign of Edward I., had a castle in the parish, of which there are still some remains. Nicholas Burnell, a distinguished warrior in the reign of Edward III., was born and buried here." [2]

Important Dates for the Bernell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bernell research. Another 48 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1571, 1542 and 1641 are included under the topic Early Bernell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bernell Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Bernell has appeared include Burnell, Burnhill, Byrnell and others.

Early Notables of the Bernell family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Edward Burnell ( fl. 1542), English professor of Greek at Rostock, Germany. [1] Henry Burnell fl. 1641), the dramatist, belongs to the Anglo-Irish family of Burnell, which acquired considerable estates in Leinster...
Another 36 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bernell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bernell family to Ireland

Some of the Bernell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bernell family

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Bernell arrived in North America very early: Mrs. Burnell who arrived in Barbados in 1680 with servants; Henry Burnell settled in Virginia in 1656 with his brothers Francis and Robert; William Burnell settled in Salem Massachusetts in 1630.

Contemporary Notables of the name Bernell (post 1700)

  • Bernell Brooks, American politician, Independent Candidate for Mayor of Washington, District of Columbia, 1990 [3]

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Citations

  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
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