Biray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Biray is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Biray family lived at the parish of Bussey in Hereford. [1] The name, however, is a reference to the family's former place of residence, Bouce, in Orne, Normandy. [2]

Another source disagrees. The Duchess of Cleveland in her work "The Battle Abbey Roll," notes the family likely came from "Buci, in Normandy. Robert de Buci held a great barony in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire in 1086 [3]: but left no heir save a daughter, married to Ralph Basset, Justiciary of England under Henry I. " [4]

Early Origins of the Biray family

The surname Biray was first found in Leicestershire at Wyfordby, a parish, in the union of Melton-Mowbray, hundred of Framland. "This place, at the Conquest, was granted to Roger de Bussy, Baron of Tickhill, in the county of York." [5]

"Jordan de Bussi, is mentioned in the time of Stephen, when he held his uncle Walter Espec's castle of Werke, 'and gallantly repulsed the attack of William Fitz Duncan, King of Scots.' Of his descendants I am unable to find any account, except that they held of Mowbray in the thirteenth century." [2]

"The first Jordan de Bussy, called, in the pedigree, the son of Lambert, founded a great Lincolnshire house, that lasted till the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign. There exists no county history to blazon their deeds of arms or count up their forfeitures: we are not informed on which side they fought during the Barons' War, or whether they wore the colours of York or Lancaster. " [4]

"Dom. Hugh de Buscy" occurs in the Hundred Rolls of 1272 as a landowner in Northumberland, Norfolk, Lincoln, Suffolk and Sussex; and may have been the father of Hugh de Bowcy, Sheriff of Surrey and Sussex in 1340. " [4]

Early History of the Biray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Biray research. Another 60 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1399, 1379, 1381, 1391, 1388, 1393, 1394, 1397 and 1397 are included under the topic Early Biray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Biray Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Bussey, Busse, Bushe, Boosie, Boosey, Bowsey, Busey and many more.

Early Notables of the Biray family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Bussy (d. 1399), Speaker of the House of Commons and Sheriff of Lincoln in 1379, 1381, and 1391. "He was first chosen a knight of the shire for Lincoln in 1388, and continued to sit for that county during the remaining parliaments of Richard II's reign. He was three times elected speaker, first by the parliament of 1393-1394, and afterwards by...
Another 70 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Biray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Biray family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Biray or a variant listed above: George Bussey who settled in Virginia in 1637; Thomas Bussey settled in Philadelphia in 1774; Roger Bushe settled in Virginia in 1654; Elizabeth Bussie settled in Virginia in 1649.



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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