Byrnel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The ancient Anglo-Saxon culture once found in Britain is the soil from which the many generations of the Byrnel family have grown. The name Byrnel was given to a member of the family who was a person with brown hair or a dark complexion. The surname Byrnel 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, Byrnel was also used as a personal name.

Early Origins of the Byrnel family

The surname Byrnel 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 Byrnel family

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

Byrnel Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Byrnel family name include Burnell, Burnhill, Byrnell and others.

Early Notables of the Byrnel 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 Byrnel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Byrnel family to Ireland

Some of the Byrnel 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 Byrnel family

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Byrnel surname or a spelling variation of the name include : 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.

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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.
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