Show ContentsBlea History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall in southwestern England provides the original birthplace of the surname Blea. Nickname surnames were rare among the Cornish, they did occasionally adopt names that reflected the physical characteristics or other attributes of the original bearer of the name. The name Blea is a nickname type of surname for a gentle or merry person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word blide, of the same meaning.

Early Origins of the Blea family

The surname Blea was first found in Cornwall and Devon, where the name could also have been derived from the Cornish "blyth" as in blyth wolf. [1]

The "Blighs have been settled in Cornwall from the Norman Conquest to the present time. Norden mentions a branch of this family as residing in his time at Botaden in South Petherwin, in which house their arms still remain. When the Duke of Norfolk held a session of heraldry in this county, the Blighs resided at Bodmin. The Earl of Darnley is a branch of this family. The late John Bligh, Esq. and Admiral Bligh, are descended from the same common stock." [2]

Another early records of the family include: Gilbert de Blie, who listed in the Pipe Rolls (of Nottinghamshire in 1200. [1]

Early History of the Blea family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Blea research. Another 165 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1558, 1610, 1615, 1619, 1646, 1723, 1505, 1588, 1600, 1687, 1728, 1725, 1654, 1710, 1692, 1693, 1695, 1699, 1703, 1710, 1687, 1728, 1685 and 1775 are included under the topic Early Blea History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Blea Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Bligh, Blighe, Bly, Blye and others.

Early Notables of the Blea family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Blea Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Blea Ranking

In the United States, the name Blea is the 15,916th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Blea family to Ireland

Some of the Blea family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 90 words (6 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 Blea family

Some of the first North American settlers with Blea name or one of its variants: John Bligh who settled in Philadelphia in 1821; William Bligh settled in the same city in 1866; Mary Bly settled in Virginia in 1653; John Blye settled in Philadelphia in 1811.

  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?"., on Facebook