Berners History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Berners surname comes from the Norman given name Bernier, which is Germanic in origin, coming from "bern" meaning "bear," and "hari," or "army."

Early Origins of the Berners family

The surname Berners was first found in Surrey where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Therfield. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands in Essex at Roding Berniers (Roothing Berners) and Bernston who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.

They are believed to be descended from Hugh de Berniers in Normandy near Falaise. They also held in Cambridge at Eversdon, his main domain. Rooting Berners "derives its distinguishing affix from Hugh de Berners, to whom the manor at one time belonged. " [1]

The same gentleman held estates in Barnston, again in Essex. "The manor was held by Hugh de Berners and his descendants for many generations, and from them obtained its name Bernerstown, now corrupted into Bernston or Barnston." [1]

The alter tomb in West Horsley, Surrey has an effigy of "one of the Berners, a family who resided there about the time of Richard II." [1]

Dame Juliana Berners, Bernes or Barnes (b. 1388?), was an early English writer on hawking, hunting, and heraldry. "The historic and the legendary Dame Juliana Berners are very different persons. 'What is really known of the Dame is almost nothing, and may be summed up in the following few words. She probably lived at the beginning of the fifteenth century, and she possibly compiled from existing, MSS. some rhymes on hunting.' " [2]

Important Dates for the Berners family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Berners research. Another 157 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1265, 1510, 1600, 1504, 1467, 1533, 1495, 1529, 1516 and 1518 are included under the topic Early Berners History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berners Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Berner, Berners, Berniers, Burner, Burners, Burniers, Barners, Bearners and many more.

Early Notables of the Berners family (pre 1700)

Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Berners Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berners migration to the United States

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Berners or a variant listed above:

Berners Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jane Berners, who settled in Virginia in 1775

Berners migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Berners Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Gregory Berners, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749

Contemporary Notables of the name Berners (post 1700)

  • Lord Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson Berners (1883-1950), English composer
  • Juliana Berners, English author
  • John Bourchier Berners (1467-1533), English writer and soldier
  • Lionel Berners Cholmondeley (1858-1945), younger brother of a British peer who became an Anglican minister

Citations

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
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