Show ContentsBertwhistle History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Bertwhistle surname lived in Birtwisle, near Padiham, in the county of Lancashire. [1] The town was named for the Old English words bird or brid, meaning young bird or nestling, and twissel, which referred to a fork in a stream. [2]

Early Origins of the Bertwhistle family

The surname Bertwhistle was first found in Lancashire, where one of the first records of the family was John de Briddeslwysill who was listed there in the Assize Rolls of 1285. [1] Unconfirmed records show Ralph de Bridtwisell, born about 1160, lived in the now-vanished hamlet of that name, near Hapton.

In 1316 William de Birtwisle obtained land in Huncoat, Lancashire from John de Huncoat in exchange for Bradley in Hapton, and in 1330 William gave his son Richard all his lands in Huncoat and Hapton. Later, Ellis de Birtwisle, was rector of the church of St. Elphin, Warrington, Lancashire from 1368 to 1370. [3] Huncoat (Huncote) Hall would remain in the family for over 450 years.

In Yorkshire, the first record found was that of Adam de Briddestwyssle who was listed in Kirkstall in 1329. [1]

Scanning the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, we found the following people as all holding lands there at that time: Henrichs Birktwysell; Johannes de Brytwesle; and Ricardus de Brytwesele. [4]

Early History of the Bertwhistle family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bertwhistle research. Another 333 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1285, 1329, 1379, 1384, 1386, 1387, 1394, 1397, 1406, 1460, 1509, 1510, 1524, 1527, 1531, 1540, 1543, 1545, 1560, 1577, 1594, 1597, 1600, 1614, 1617, 1618, 1619, 1626, 1665, 1666, 1729 and 1787 are included under the topic Early Bertwhistle History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bertwhistle Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Bertwhistle are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Bertwhistle include: Birdwhistle, Bertwhistle, Berdwhistle, Birtwisill, Birtwhistle, Birtwisle, Birdwistle, Birdwisle, Birdwistle, Brittwissill, Birktwysell, Brytwesle, Brytwesele, Birtwistell, Birtwessel, Briddestwysill, Briddestwyssle, Burtwisle and many more.

Early Notables of the Bertwhistle family

Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bertwhistle Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bertwhistle family

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Bertwhistle or a variant listed above: Thomas Birdwistle, who sailed to Maryland in 1670.



  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. 'Townships: Scarisbrick', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, ed. William Farrer and J Brownbill (London, 1907), pp. 265-276. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol3/pp265-276 [accessed 21 January 2017].
  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)


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