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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Bosley family come from? What is the English Bosley family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bosley family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bosley family history?

The name Bosley was brought to England by the Normans when they conquered the country in 1066. The ancestors of the Bosley family lived at Bosley in Cheshire, where they were established since the early Middle Ages.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Bosley are characterized by many spelling variations. 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. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Bosley include Bosley, Boasley, Bozley, Boazley, Bosely, Bozely, Bosleigh, Boslea, Bozleigh and many more.

First found in Cheshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Bosley. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book the small village of Bosley was held by Hugh FitzNorman, Lord of Lea (Leigh,) otherwise known as Hugh de la Mare, held Bosley as an undertenant from Earl Hugh Lupus the great Earl of Chester. Conjecturally, the Bosleys are descended from this Hugh FitzNorman who adopted the name Baron Hugh of Bosley. Bosley is now the site of a reservoir. Since he is recorded in a Breton charter in 1070, Hugh may have been a Breton Baron by marriage, but his main stem family came from Lamare at St.Opportune, in Normandy where the family castle was built on piles by the side of the lake.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bosley research. Another 209 words (15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bosley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Bosley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Bosley, or a variant listed above:

Bosley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Bosley settled in Mississippi in 1844
  • William M Bosley, who landed in Mississippi in 1844
  • Ellen Rose Bosley, aged 31, who landed in America from Liverpool, in 1892
  • R. Armytage Bosley, aged 26, who emigrated to the United States, in 1893
  • Geo Bosley, aged 26, who landed in America, in 1894

Bosley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • A. M. Bosley, aged 52, who emigrated to the United States, in 1901
  • George Bosley, aged 18, who landed in America from Nottingham, in 1904
  • Harriet Bosley, aged 29, who settled in America from Kingston, in 1906
  • William Ed. Bosley, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from London, in 1906
  • Wm. Bosley, aged 49, who landed in America, in 1906

Bosley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Sarah Bosley arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865


  • Freeman Robertson Bosley Jr. (b. 1954), African-American, lawyer and politician, mayor of St. Louis
  • Bruce Bosley (b. 1933), American football (NFL) player
  • Tom Bosley (1927-2010), Tony award winning American actor perhaps best known for his role as Mr. Cunningham on "Happy Days"
  • John William Bosley (b. 1947), Canadian politician, Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons (1984-1986)
  • Keith Bosley (b. 1937), British poet, translator and radio announcer for the BBC


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  4. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  5. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  9. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  10. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  11. ...

The Bosley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bosley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 30 May 2014 at 10:45.

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