Barclay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Although the surname is generally known as Scottish, the origins of the name come from when the ancestors of the family lived in the parish of Berkeley in the county of Gloucestershire. Local names such as Barclay were taken from the name of the place or landmark where the original bearer of the name lived or was born.

Early Origins of the Barclay family

The surname Barclay was first found in Gloucestershire, where the earliest records of the name include Roger de Bercleia of Gloucestershire in the Domesday Book of 1086; as well as Edidius de Berkeleye and Maurice de Berkelay of Somerset, both recorded in the Hundredorum Rolls in 1273.The family held the parish of Berkeley long before the Norman Conquest.

However, when they refused to submit to King William, they were pressured into moving northward to Scotland. There, they established a line close to the Scottish throne. One of the first records of the name was Theobald de Berkeley who was listed there temp. David I. [1]

"Roger de Berkely, a Saxon living at the time of the Conquest was the grandfather of Theobald de Berkely, who settled in Scotland, and was the ancestor of the Barclays. " [2]

"Walter de Berchelai or Berkelai held the high office of Chamberlain of Scotland in 1165, was present in Curia Regis at Lanark in that year, and witnessed several charters of William the Lion. " [3]

During the late Middle Ages, the name was quite common in Fife and Aberdeenshire. They were the traditional sheriffs of Banffshire for many generations. Another line was established in Mathers during the end of the 12th century. In 1456, the chiefship went to the Barclays of Towie, and has since remained there.

Early History of the Barclay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Barclay research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1165, 1189, 1196, 1598, 1668, 1950, 1476, 1552, 1582, 1621, 1610, 1686, 1648, 1690, 1682, 1690, 1696, 1696, 1698 and are included under the topic Early Barclay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Barclay Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Berkeley, Barkley, Barklay, Barckley, Barclay and many more.

Early Notables of the Barclay family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Dr Alexander Barclay (c.1476-1552), English/Scottish poet; John Barclay (1582-1621), Scottish satirist and neo-Latin poet; Colonel David Barclay (1610-1686), 1st Laird of Urie, Kincardineshire, leader of a famed highland regiment that served as mercenaries under Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden; and his son, Robert Barclay (1648-1690), a Scottish Quaker, one of the most eminent writers belonging to the Religious Society of Friends, 2nd Governor of East Jersey (1682-1690.) Sir George Barclay ( fl. 1696), was the principal agent in the assassination plot against William III in 1696, was of Scotch descent, and at the...
Another 96 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Barclay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Barclay family to Ireland

Some of the Barclay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Barclay migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Barclay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Barclay, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1707 [4]
  • Nicholas Barclay, who landed in Virginia in 1715 [4]
  • James Barclay, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1729 [4]
  • William Barclay, who arrived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1732 [4]
  • Henry Barclay, who arrived in Virginia in 1737 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Barclay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Barclay, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1802 [4]
  • David Barclay, who arrived in America in 1805 [4]
  • John Barclay, aged 29, who arrived in New York in 1812 [4]
  • Richard Barclay, who landed in New York, NY in 1817 [4]
  • Thomas Barclay who landed in New York state in 1822
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Barclay migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Barclay Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Barclay U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 [5]
  • Mr. Thomas Barclay U.E. born in New York, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 he was the son of Henry Barclay DD [5]
Barclay Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Barclay, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1813

Australia Barclay migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Barclay Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Barclay, (b. 1818), aged 16, Scottish convict who was convicted in Perth, Scotland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1898 [6]
  • John James Barclay, who arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1837 [7]
  • Rebecca Barclay, who arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1837 [7]
  • William Barclay, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [8]
  • A. Barclay, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Childe Harold" in 1849 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Barclay migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Barclay Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Barclay, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 19th December 1850 [10]
  • Mrs. Barbara Barclay, British settler travelling from Portsmouth aboard the ship "Duke of Portland" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1851 [11]
  • Mr. Thomas Barclay, British settler travelling from Portsmouth aboard the ship "Duke of Portland" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1851 [11]
  • Mr. James Barclay, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Martaban" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th October 1856 [11]
  • Miss Catherine Barclay, (b. 1859), aged Infant, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Anne" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th August 1859 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Barclay (post 1700) +

  • Jacinda Barclay (1991-2020), Australian sportswoman who played baseball, American football and Australian football at high levels
  • Paris K.C. Barclay (b. 1956), two-time Emmy winning American television director and producer
  • Joan Barclay (1914-2002), American film actress of the 1930s and 1940s
  • John Barclay (1741-1823), Scottish Naval officer, one of the oldest and most distinguished officers who ever served in the marines [12]
  • John Barclay (1758-1826), Scottish anatomist, born in Perthshire 10 Dec. 1758, his father being a farmer, brother of John Barclay, founder of the Berean sect in Edinburgh [12]
  • Thomas Barclay (1792-1873), Scottish principal of Glasgow University, born in June 1792, at Unst, in Shetland [12]
  • Hugh Barclay (1799-1884), Scottish lawyer and sheriff substitute of Perthshire, descended from the old Barclay family of Fifeshire
  • John Barclay (1734-1798), Scottish minister of the Church of Scotland and the founder of the sect of the Bereans, otherwise called Barclayites or Barclayans
  • William Barclay (1907-1978), Scottish theologian and religious writer
  • Ms. Gillian Barclay M.B.E., British Head for Dementia Innovation Team for the Scottish Government, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Dementia Care and to Public Safety [13]
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Victor Nathaniel Barclay (1918-1941), Australian Supply Assistant from Ivanhoe, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [14]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Alexander C Barclay (b. 1920), English Leading Cook (S) serving for the Royal Navy from Alton, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [15]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. John Clark N Barclay, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [16]
Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • Stuart Murray Barclay (1959-1988), Canadian Businessman from Farm Barnard, Vermont, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [17]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. George Barclay, Canadian 3rd Class passenger from Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [18]


The Barclay Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Crux salutem confert
Motto Translation: The cross brings salvation


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  3. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) KATHERINE STEWART FORBES 1837 arrived Holdfast Bay, near Adelaide, on October 17, 1837. . Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1837KatherineStewartForbes.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MOFFATT 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Moffatt.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CHILDE HAROLD 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849ChildeHarold.htm
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 6 June 2019
  13. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists
  14. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  15. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  16. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  17. ^ Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | syracuse.com. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/12/pan_am_flight_103s_victims_a_list_of_those_killed_25_years_ago.html
  18. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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