Birefeard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Birefeard surname lived in Beresford, in Staffordshire. The name is derived from the word beris, which means bear.
Early Origins of the Birefeard family
The surname Birefeard was first found in Staffordshire, where the family held "a manor and township in Alstonfield, possessed by the ancestors of the several noble families of this surname for centuries."  It is generally thought that John de Beresford, Lord of Beresford held a manor "in the best part of the Moorlands" in 1087.
"The manor [of Fenny Bentley, Derbyshire] belonged to a branch of the Beresfords of Staffordshire, who settled at this place in the reign of Henry VI. The elder branch of the Beresfords of Bentley, soon became extinct in the male line, and the manor came, by marriage with their heiress, to the Beresfords of Staffordshire, from whom it passed into various hands." 
"Beresford Hall, an ancient mansion now partly in ruins, stands on the west bank of the Dove, about two miles above Alstonfield. The Beresford Hall estate gives the title of Viscount to William Carr Beresford, general in the army, and Duke of Elvas, in Portugal, whose family has possessed this manor from the time of the Conquest."  Years later, Adam de Beresford was listed in the Subsidy Rolls in Staffordshire in 1327.  The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William de Beresford in Cambridgeshire.  Iselhempstead Latimer in Buckinghamshire was another ancient family seat. "This place, with the surrounding estate, belonged in the reign of Edward III. to Simon Beresford." 
Ralph de Bereford (fl. 1329), was an English judge and "was of a legal family possessing large estates in the midland counties. He may have been a son of Osbert de Barford, or Bereford, chief gentleman to Ranulf of Hengham, justice of the common pleas, who was probably son of Walter de Barford of Langley in Warwickshire, and brother of Sir William de Bereford (d. 1326), Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1309. " 
Early History of the Birefeard family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birefeard research. Another 122 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1768, 1854, 1893, 1673, 1588, 1681, 1669, 1701, 1694, 1763, 1746, 1773, 1862 and 1773 are included under the topic Early Birefeard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Birefeard 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 Birefeard 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 Birefeard include: Beresford, Berresford, Berrisford, Berisford, Bereford and many more.
Early Notables of the Birefeard family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Tristram Beresford, 1st Baronet (died 1673), an Irish soldier and politician, eldest son of Tristram Beresford, from Kent who had settled in Ireland. Humphrey Berisford (died ca...
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Birefeard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birefeard family to Ireland
Some of the Birefeard family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 119 words (8 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 Birefeard 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 Birefeard or a variant listed above: Thomas Beresford who settled in Barbados in 1654 with his servants; William Beresford arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1855; Adam Beresford arrived in Philadelphia in 1860.
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The Birefeard 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: Nil nisi cruce
Motto Translation: Nothing unless by the cross.
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print