The surname is one of the Anglo-Norman surnames that came to Ireland
in the 12th century. Ireland
already had an established system of hereditary surnames
, often the two traditions blended together quite well, but the incoming Anglo- Normans
also brought with them local
surnames, such as Bernwell. Local
names were taken from the names of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born, some from places in Normandy
, or more typically, from England
. Originally, the place names were prefixed by de, which means from in French. This type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname if the place name began with a vowel or was eliminated entirely. The Bernwell family appears to have originally lived in either of the settlements called Barnwell in the English counties of Cambridge and Northumberland
. The Gaelic form of the surname Bernwell is de Bearnabhal.
Early Origins of the Bernwell family
The surname Bernwell was first found in County Meath
at Crickstown Castle. "De Bernvale, accompanied William the Conqueror to England
in 1066. He came from Lower Brittany
, and was allied to the dukes of that province" CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
Another source is more specific: "Sir Michael de Berneval, a scion of the family founded by the Norman knight, joined the English expedition fitted out against Ireland
and affected a descent upon Beerhaven in the co. of Cork. " CITATION[CLOSE]
Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Bernwell family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bernwell research.Another 143 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1646, 1640, 1534, 1538, 1704, 1779, 1779, 1842, 1500, 1552, 1522, 1575, 1592 and 1663 are included under the topic Early Bernwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bernwell Spelling Variations
During the lifetime of an individual person, his name was often spelt by church officials and medieval scribes the way it sounded. An examination of the many different origins of each name has revealed many spelling variations
for the name: Barnewall, Barnwall, Barnwill, Barnewill, Barnewell, Barnewelle, Barnwelle, Barnwell, Bernwell, Barneville and many more.
Early Notables of the Bernwell family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family up to this time was John Barnewall, 3rd Baron
Trimlestown (1534-1538); Robert Barnewall, 12th Baron
Trimlestown (c.1704-1779), a prominent Anglo-Irish landowner, active in the Roman Catholic cause... Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bernwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bernwell family to Ireland
Some of the Bernwell family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 217 words (16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bernwell family to the New World and Oceana
In the mid-19th century, Ireland
experienced one of the worst periods in its entire history. During this decade in order to ease the pressure of the soil, which was actually depleted by the effects of the previous years' grain crops, landowners forced tenant
farmers and peasants onto tiny plots of land that barely provided the basic sustenance a family required. Conditions were worsened, though, by the population of the country, which was growing fast to roughly eight million. So when the Great Potato Famine
of the mid-1840s hit, starvation and diseases decimated the population. Thousands of Irish families
left the country for British North America and the United States. The new immigrants were often accommodated either in the opening western frontiers or as cheap unskilled labor in the established centers. In early passenger and immigration lists there are many immigrants bearing the name Bernwell: Nicholas Barnwel who settled in Barbados in 1679; John arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1798; Robert settled there in 1831; Thomas landed in New York state in 1823..
The Bernwell 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: Malo mori quam foedari
Motto Translation: I would rather die than be disgraced.