Show ContentsBarnselee History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Barnselee is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Barnselee family lived in Worcestershire and Yorkshire, where they held an ancient seat and estates.

Early Origins of the Barnselee family

The surname Barnselee 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 Barnselee family

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

Barnselee Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Barnsley, Barnsely, Barnseley, Barnsly and others.

Early Notables of the Barnselee family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Barnselee family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Barnselee or a variant listed above were: 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