Barrs History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Barrs was first used in the Scottish/English Borderlands by an ancient Scottish people called the Strathclyde- Britons. It was a name for someone who lived in Ayrshire, where the family was found since the early Middle Ages. It is generally thought to have been a habitational name, taken on from any of various place names in southwestern Scotland, in particular in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire. These place names derive from the Gaelic word barr, meaning "height," or "hill."

Early Origins of the Barrs family

The surname Barrs was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire. "The surname is most frequently found at the present day in the district around Glasgow, and is a common surname in the Kilbarchan Commissariot Record. Atkyn de Barr was bailie of Ayr c. 1340. John Bar or de Barre was burgess of Edinburgh in 1423." [1]

However, some of the family were first found further south at Tollerton in Nottinghamshire, England. "This place, which takes its name from Torlaston, one of its possessors before the Conquest, in the reign of Stephen became the manor of Radulphus Barre, with whose descendants it still remains." [2]

"His wife must have been a De Lisle, for his son Richard, in one of his deeds, speaks of Ranulf de Insula, his grandfather, and Matilda Malebisse, his grandmother. Fifth in descent from Richard was Thomas, Dominus de Teversall (or Tearsall), who first called himself Barry, as the family continued to do till it ended with John Barry in the reign of Henry VI. A branch seated at Torlaston lasted about one hundred years longer. These Barres or Barrys were benefactors to the monks of Beauchief." [3]

In Northamptonshire, William Barre, or Barry, of Great Billing, held one fee of Courcy in 1165 [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Gunilda de la Barre in Hertfordshire and Philip de le Barre in Huntingdonshire. [5]

Early History of the Barrs family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Barrs research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1590, 1551, 1554, 1565, 1600, 1612, 1686, 1600, 1170, 1202, 1170, 1173 and are included under the topic Early Barrs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Barrs Spelling Variations

The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years Barrs has been spelled Barr, Barre and others.

Early Notables of the Barrs family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Richard Barre ( fl. 1170-1202), an English ecclesiastic and judge who acted as the envoy of Henry II to the papal court, both shortly before and immediately after the murder of Thomas Becket. On the first occasion he was the bearer of a haughty and even minatory message from the king demanding that the pope should absolve all those who had been excommunicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The mission, it need hardly be said, failed of its object. The letter from Alexander III to the Archbishop of York, which Foss connects with it...
Another 180 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Barrs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Barrs family to Ireland

Some of the Barrs family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 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 Barrs migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were:

Barrs Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Barrs, who landed in New York in 1800 [6]

Australia Barrs migration to Australia +

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

Barrs Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  4. ^ Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1826 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1826


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