Birrefeard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Birrefeard is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived in Beresford, in Staffordshire. The name is derived from the word beris, which means bear.
Early Origins of the Birrefeard family
The surname Birrefeard 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 Birrefeard family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birrefeard 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 Birrefeard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Birrefeard Spelling Variations
The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Birrefeard has been spelled many different ways, including Beresford, Berresford, Berrisford, Berisford, Bereford and many more.
Early Notables of the Birrefeard 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 Birrefeard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birrefeard family to Ireland
Some of the Birrefeard 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 Birrefeard family
Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Birrefeards to arrive in North America: 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.
Related Stories +
The Birrefeard 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