Show ContentsBeresford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Beresford is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived in Beresford, in Staffordshire. The name is derived from the word beris, which means bear.

Early Origins of the Beresford family

The surname Beresford was first found in Staffordshire, where the family held "a manor and township in Alstonfield, possessed by the ancestors of the several noble families of this surname for centuries." [1] It is generally thought that John de Beresford, Lord of Beresford held a manor "in the best part of the Moorlands" in 1087.

"The manor [of Fenny Bentley, Derbyshire] belonged to a branch of the Beresfords of Staffordshire, who settled at this place in the reign of Henry VI. The elder branch of the Beresfords of Bentley, soon became extinct in the male line, and the manor came, by marriage with their heiress, to the Beresfords of Staffordshire, from whom it passed into various hands." [2]

"Beresford Hall, an ancient mansion now partly in ruins, stands on the west bank of the Dove, about two miles above Alstonfield. The Beresford Hall estate gives the title of Viscount to William Carr Beresford, general in the army, and Duke of Elvas, in Portugal, whose family has possessed this manor from the time of the Conquest." [2] Years later, Adam de Beresford was listed in the Subsidy Rolls in Staffordshire in 1327. [3] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William de Beresford in Cambridgeshire. [4] Iselhempstead Latimer in Buckinghamshire was another ancient family seat. "This place, with the surrounding estate, belonged in the reign of Edward III. to Simon Beresford." [2]

Ralph de Bereford (fl. 1329), was an English judge and "was of a legal family possessing large estates in the midland counties. He may have been a son of Osbert de Barford, or Bereford, chief gentleman to Ranulf of Hengham, justice of the common pleas, who was probably son of Walter de Barford of Langley in Warwickshire, and brother of Sir William de Bereford (d. 1326), Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1309. " [5]

Early History of the Beresford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beresford research. Another 122 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1768, 1854, 1893, 1673, 1588, 1681, 1669, 1701, 1694, 1763, 1746, 1773, 1862 and 1773 are included under the topic Early Beresford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beresford Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Beresford has been spelled many different ways, including Beresford, Berresford, Berrisford, Berisford, Bereford and many more.

Early Notables of the Beresford family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Tristram Beresford, 1st Baronet (died 1673), an Irish soldier and politician, eldest son of Tristram Beresford, from Kent who had settled in Ireland. Humphrey Berisford (died ca...
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Beresford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beresford Ranking

In the United States, the name Beresford is the 17,880th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Beresford family to Ireland

Some of the Beresford family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 119 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Beresford migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Beresfords to arrive in North America:

Beresford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Beresford, who landed in Leeward Islands in 1714 [7]
Beresford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Beresford, aged 26, who landed in Maryland in 1813 [7]
  • William Beresford, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1855
  • Adam Beresford, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1860
  • Elizth Beresford, aged 25, who arrived in New York in 1862 [7]
  • Esther Beresford, who landed in New York in 1862 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Beresford migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Beresford Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Anastasia Beresford in Cotterels Island, Quebec in 1856
Beresford Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Mrs. Beresford, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Beresford migration to Australia +

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

Beresford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Beresford, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [8]
  • W.F. Beresford, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Emma" in 1836 [9]
  • Mr. William Beresford, English convict who was convicted in Warwick, Warwickshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Elphinstone" on 27th May 1837, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Mr. George Beresford, English convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Eden" on 8th July 1840, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. John Beresford, English convict who was convicted in Worcester, Worcestershire, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Candahar" on 26th March 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Beresford 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:

Beresford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Eliza Beresford, (b. 1842), aged 22, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "British Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 6th September 1864 [13]
  • Mr. Thomas J. Beresford, (b. 1843), aged 21, British farm labourer travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "British Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 6th September 1864 [13]

West Indies Beresford migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [14]
Beresford Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Beresford who settled in Barbados in 1654 with his servants
Beresford Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Beresford, who arrived in Barbados in 1700 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Beresford (post 1700) +

  • Richard Beresford (1755-1803), American politician
  • John Davys Beresford (1873-1947), English writer remembered for science fiction, horror and ghost stories
  • Harry Beresford (1864-1944), English actor
  • David Beresford (1947-2016), British journalist for The Guardian newspaper
  • John Hubert de la Poer Beresford (1933-2015), 8th Marquess of Waterford, an Irish peer
  • Steve Beresford (b. 1950), British musician, multi-instumentalist
  • Bruce Beresford (b. 1940), Australian film director
  • Charles William de la Poer Beresford (1846-1919), 1st Baron Beresford, British Admiral and Member of Parliament
  • Viscount William Carr Beresford (1768-1854), British general
  • Diana Beresford Fisher OAM (1931-2023), Australian journalist, television and radio presenter, social commentator and royal correspondent, best known for being a judge on The Inventors on ABC TV from 1970 to 1982.[5]

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Kenneth Radley "Kenneth" Beresford (b. 1906), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [15]

The Beresford 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: Nil nisi cruce
Motto Translation: Nothing unless by the cross.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. 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)
  8. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 151 passengers. Retrieved from
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Emma. Retrieved from
  10. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 18th March 2022). Retrieved from
  11. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th October 2021). Retrieved from
  12. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from
  13. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  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 on Facebook