Show ContentsBourchier History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bourchier reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Bourchier family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest in 1066. Bourchier is a name for a person who was a butcher. [1] So as to confirm this, we found "Rogerus filius Johannis de Burton, de Eton in le Clay, boucher (1343)" [2]

However, the name could also be derived the family's original place of residence, Beaucir, in Calvados, Normandy. [3]

Early Origins of the Bourchier family

The surname Bourchier was first found in Essex where Robert, John de Burser, Bousser 1285, 1303, Burghcher 1349. These entries were recorded at Bourchier's alias Bouchier's Hall in Aldham, Essex. Continuing early Essex entries, we found: John de Bourchier 1311; Bouchier's Grange in Great Coggeshall (Essex), John de Bousser 1326; Bouchiers Chapel in Tollesbury (Essex), John de Bousser 1328; Bourchier's Hall in Messing (Essex), and John de Busser 1309; Boarstye Farm and Bowser's Hall in Rivenhall (Essex).

"The Bouchers were well-known Bristol merchants in the 16th and 17th centuries, and frequently filled the offices of mayor and sheriff of the city; they were intrepid Royalists, and suffered death in the cause." [4]

Other records of the family were found in the Writs or Parliament of 1300 where Elias le Borcher was listed at that time. The same rolls but listed later included John le Bocher, temp. 1500. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed the Bocher spelling as being more popular at that time as Adam Bocher and Richard Bocher were listed in that rolls. [5]

Early History of the Bourchier family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bourchier research. Another 49 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1330, 1306, 1312, 1314, 1315, 1317, 1319, 1320, 1467, 1533, 1471, 1632, 1455, 1474, 1461, 1454, 1486, 1660, 1620, 1642, 1648, 1660, 1643, 1642 and 1643 are included under the topic Early Bourchier History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bourchier Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Bowker, Bowcher, Boucher and others.

Early Notables of the Bourchier family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John de Bourchier or Boussier (d. 1330) the English judge, first mentioned as deputed by Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, to represent him in the parliament summoned in 1306 for the purpose of granting an aid on the occasion of the Prince of Wales receiving knighthood. In 1312 he was permitted to postpone the assumption of the same rank for three years in consideration of paying a fine of 100s. In 1314-1315 he appears as one of the justices of assize for the counties of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, and his name...
Another 451 words (32 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bourchier Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bourchier family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Bourchier or a variant listed above: Abraham Bowker who settled in Virginia in 1700; John Bowker arrived in Philadelphia in 1848 along with William, Thomas, and James. Another Abraham Bowker arrived in Philadelphia in 1858.


Contemporary Notables of the name Bourchier (post 1700) +

  • Lieutenant Claude Thomas Bourchier VC (1831-1877), English officer, recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions on 20 November 1854 at Sebastopol, Crimea
  • Arthur Bourchier (1863-1927), English actor and theatre manager
  • Brigadier Sir Murray William James Bourchier (1881-1937), Australian soldier and politician, Deputy Premier of Victoria (1935-1936)
  • John William Bourchier CBE (b. 1929), Australian politician, Member of the Australian Parliament for Bendigo (1972-1983)
  • James David Bourchier (1850-1920), Irish journalist and political activist
  • Sir Courtenay Bourchier Vyvyan (1858-1941), 10th Baronet
  • John Bourchier Berners (1467-1533), English writer and soldier
  • Bourchier Wrey Savile (1817-1888), author, second son of Albany Savile (died 1831), M.P., of Okehampton


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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