Bourlay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Bourlay is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived in the fort by the wood having derived from the Old English burhleah.
Early Origins of the Bourlay family
The surname Bourlay was first found in Somerset where Burley Castle where a motte and bailey castle of the late 11th or early 12th century remains to this day. The village and civil parish Burley, or Burley-on-the-Hill, is located two miles north-east of Oakham in Rutland. Burleigh Castle is located near the village of Milnathort, in Perth and Kinross, Scotland and dates from the 15th and 16th centuries. It was held by the Balfours from 1446. Burleigh is also a village in Berkshire, England, within the civil parish of Warfield.
Some of the earliest records of the family include: John Burley (d. 1333), a Carmelite of Stamford; Walter Burley (or Burleigh), (c.1275-1344), a medieval English logician, Master of Arts at Oxford in 1301, and a fellow of Merton College, Oxford until 1305; and Sir Simon Burley (1336-1388), an early English warrior and favourite from a Herefordshire family. "His parentage is uncertain, but he appears to have been a younger brother rather than a son of the Sir John Burley who received the Garter at the accession of Richard II."  Because of He was accused and sentenced for abuse of power by the parliament 5 May 1388 and sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, which was commuted by the king. He was summarily beheaded the same day. 
Important Dates for the Bourlay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bourlay research. Another 191 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1437, 1409, 1336, 1388, 1384, 1388, 1388, 1485 and 1510 are included under the topic Early Bourlay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bourlay 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. Bourlay has been spelled many different ways, including Burley, Burleigh, Burlie, Burrley, Burrlie, Burrleigh, Burly, Bourley, Bourleigh, Bourly, Berly and many more.
Early Notables of the Bourlay family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include William Burley, Speaker of the House of Commons of England in March 1437; and John Burley, Sheriff of county Salop in 1409. Sir Simon de Burley (ca.1336-1388), was Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bourlay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bourlay family to Ireland
Some of the Bourlay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 46 words (3 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 Bourlay 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 Bourlays to arrive in North America: Abell Burleigh who settled in Virginia in 1652; followed by William in 1729; George William Burleigh, who settled in New York State early in the seventeenth century.
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- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print