Birdyn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Birdyn family first reached the shores of England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Their name is derived from the Norman personal name Burdo, which is thought to be of Germanic origin.

Alternatively, the name was derived from a "bourdon, a palmer's staff, which, with his scrip, always received a solemn benediction from the priest before he set out on his journey." [1]

"This name, no doubt given or assumed in memory of some pilgrimage, was common both in Normandy and England. During the latter half of the twelfth century it occurs several times in the Exchequer Rolls of the Duchy; and William Burdon, according to Duchesne, held of the Honour of Grentemesnil. Four Bourdons-Bourdon de Gramont du Lys, Bourdon du Lys, Bourdon du Quesnay, and Bourdon de Pommeret-were present in the Assembly of the Norman nobles in 1789." [2]

In the co. Durham we find the family seated very soon after the Conquest. Roger Burdon witnesses a deed in Bishop Flambard's time (1099-1133); and Elfer and Amfrid de Birdan appear in the Domesday of the North, the "Bolden Buke" compiled between 1153 and 1194. The name is retained by two villages in the Parish of Bishop-Wearmouth, East and West Burdon (otherwise Old Burdon and Towne Burdon), and was frequent in the county. In 1320 Hugh Burdon of Ivesley-Burdon left Agnes his daughter and heir. [2]

The family is found in many different parts of the country. Arnulph Burdon held a mansion in Winchester, 1148 (Winton Domesday): and Robert Burdon was Lord of Kingsteignton, Devon, temp. Richard I. (Pole's Devon). Burdon, near High Hampton, retains the name in the county. Robert Burdon was of Yorkshire, in 1255 (Roberts, Excerpta): and at about the same date, or a little later, Roger Burdon of Burdon's Hall, Boscomb, occurs in Wiltshire. [2]

Early Origins of the Birdyn family

The surname Birdyn was first found in Essex where they were granted lands by King William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings. Baron Burden appears in the Role of Battel Abbey and the Domesday Book as holding lands held by the Count of Mortain and leased to Richard de Surdeval.

Burdon and Great Burdon are townships in Durham. "The ancient family of Burdon, of knightly dignity, derived their name from this place; which also gave name to a local family, who, however, never passed the rank of yeomanry." [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included a variety of early spellings for the family: Nicholas de Burdon, Wiltshire; Lucya de Burdune, Devon; and Thomas Burdon, Yorkshire. [4]

Other early rolls list Ralph Burdun in Norfolf (1128-1129) and Ilger Burdun in the Pipe Rolls for Yorkshire in 1166. Arnulf Burdin was found in Winton, Hampshire in 1115 and Bruni Burdin was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Berkshire in 1180. Nicholas Burbein or Burdon was found in Warwickshire in 1242. [5]

Up in Scotland, the name was "probably from the place now called Burdon in the county of Durham, where a family of the name are found shortly after the Norman Conquest. Thomas Burdun witnessed a charter by Ebrardus de Penkathleht to the church of St. Cuthbert of Durham in the reign of William the Lion. William de Bourdon witnessed a charter of Alexander 11 to Hugh de Abernethy, c. 1245. de Burdon witnessed a charter of Sir Ralph Noble of half the lands of Kenpunt to David Graham. Sir William Burdone swore fealty in 1291, and in 1296 Rogier de Burghdone of Blakeder in Berwickshire and Wautier de Burghdone of Roxburghshire rendered homage. The seal of the latter bears the legend S' Walteri de Bvrdvn." [6]

Early History of the Birdyn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birdyn research. Another 341 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1115, 1128, 1166, 1180, 1217, 1467, 1497, 1758, 1273, 1273, 1597, 1797, 1808, 1337, 1357, 1574, 1817, 1764, 1818, 1782, 1786, 1788, 1798, 1818 and 1806 are included under the topic Early Birdyn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Birdyn 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 Burdon, Burden, Bourden, Bourdon, Birden, Berden, Burdin, Burdin, Burdun, Burdon, Burdune, Burghdone, Burdoun and many more.

Early Notables of the Birdyn family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Burdon (1764-1818), English miscellaneous writer, born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was educated at the free grammar school there, proceeded to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1782, and graduated B.A. 1786, and M.A. 1788, when he was elected a fellow of his college. He resigned his fellowship eight years later, on declining to take holy orders. He...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Birdyn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Birdyn family to Ireland

Some of the Birdyn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 69 words (5 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 Birdyn 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 Birdyn or a variant listed above: Edward Burden who settled in Virginia in 1637; George Burden settled in Boston, Massachusetts in 1635; Thomas Burden settled in Virginia in 1734; John and Richard Burden settled in New York State in 1803.



  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  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. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)


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