Show ContentsBirtwistle History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Birtwistle is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family 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 Birtwistle family

The surname Birtwistle 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 Birtwistle family

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

Birtwistle 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 Birtwistle 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. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Birtwistle 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 Birtwistle family (pre 1700)

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

Australia Birtwistle migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Birtwistle Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Birtwistle, English convict who was convicted in Knutsford (Nether Knutsford), Cheshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 28th March 1848, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) from Bermuda [5]
  • James Birtwistle, aged 24, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "John Bunyan" [6]
  • Jane Ann Birtwistle, aged 17, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "John Bunyan" [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Birtwistle (post 1700) +

  • Sue Birtwistle, English producer and writer of television drama
  • Adam Birtwistle (b. 1959), British artist, son of Sir Harrison Birtwistle
  • Gordon Birtwistle (b. 1943), British Liberal Democrat politician
  • Ivor Birtwistle (1892-1976), Australian journalist

  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 [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)
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th September 2020). Retrieved from
  6. South Australian Register Wednesday 24th May 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) John Bunyan 1854. Retrieved on Facebook