Show ContentsBarnessly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Barnessly came to England with the ancestors of the Barnessly family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Barnessly family lived in Worcestershire and Yorkshire, where they held an ancient seat and estates.

Early Origins of the Barnessly family

The surname Barnessly was first found in Gloucestershire and South Yorkshire at Barnsley. Of the locales, the town in Yorkshire is by far the larger originating in the historic West Riding of Yorkshire. This town dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Berneslai. However, the Gloucestershire parish which was originally part of historic Lancashire dates back further to 802 when it was listed as Bearmodeslea. It too was listed in the Domesday Book but had a different spelling of Bernesleis. Both locales were derived from the Old English personal name + "leah" and literally meant "woodland clearing of a man called Beornmod (Beorn)." [1] The family is conjecturally descended from a Norman noble Ilbert de Lacy who settled in the village of Barnsley in the West Riding of Yorkshire at the time of the Norman Conquest. Ilbert was Lord of the Manor of Barnsley.

Early History of the Barnessly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Barnessly research. Another 49 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 155 and 1550 are included under the topic Early Barnessly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Barnessly Spelling Variations

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 Barnsley, Barnsely, Barnseley, Barnsly and others.

Early Notables of the Barnessly family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Barnessly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Barnessly family

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 Barnessly or a variant listed above: Richard Barnssley and his wife who settled in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766.

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