Barkly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Barkly name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived in the parish of Berkeley in the county of Gloucestershire.

"This place, according to Sir Robert Atkyns, the historian of Gloucestershire, derives its name from the Saxon Beorc, a birch-tree, and Leas, a pasture; whence it has been inferred that the parish was formerly remarkable for the growth of birch-trees. It was always a place of considerable importance; and at a very early period it gave name to the great manor of Berkeley, which during the heptarchy was held of the crown, at £500. 17. 2. per annum, by Roger de Berkeley, a near relative of Edward the Confessor, and lord of Dursley, from whom the earliest authentic pedigree of the Berkeley family is deduced. Berkeley, notwithstanding the residence of the oldest branches of the family in their castle at Dursley. William the Conqueror, professing high regard for all the relatives of Edward the Confessor, granted the manor of Berkeley to Roger Berkeley, of Dursley, by whose descendants it was held till the reign of Henry II." [1]

Early Origins of the Barkly family

The surname Barkly was first found in Gloucestershire, where "this noble race descend from Thos, de Berkely, Lord of Berkeley castle, co. Gloucester, temp. Edward I., and fifth in lineal succession from Harding, a Dane of royal blood, and one of the companions of William the Conqueror. " [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included Egidius de Berkeleye, Oxfordshire; Seman de Berclawe, Cambridgeshire; and Maurice de Berkelay, Somerset. [3]

Henry de Barcley and Helewys' de Berkele were listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1327. [4]

Early History of the Barkly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Barkly research. Another 135 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1306, 1400, 1598, 1924, 1475, 1552, 1509, 1648, 1690 and are included under the topic Early Barkly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Barkly Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Barkly were recorded, including Barclay, Berkeley, Barcley, Berkely, Berkley and others.

Early Notables of the Barkly family (pre 1700)

Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Barkly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Barkly family to Ireland

Some of the Barkly family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 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 Barkly family

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Barkly family emigrate to North America: Thomas Barclay who settled in Maryland in 1750; Alex Barclay settled in Norfolk, Virginia in 1822; Benjamin, George, Henry, James, Moses, Thomas and William Barclay, all settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1837 and 1864.



The Barkly 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: In cruce spero
Motto Translation: I trust in the cross.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)


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