Bradley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The present generation of the Bradley family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived in Lincolnshire, where they held estates in the village and parish of Bradley, and from which they derived their family name. The name refers to the local "broad ley" meaning "broad meadow" and for this there are many, many parishes, townships, hamlets with this name throughout England. [1] However, the first record of the name appears in the Poll Tax Records of Lincolnshire where William de Bradelai was listed in 1170. [2]

Early Origins of the Bradley family

The surname Bradley was first found in Lincolnshire. However, there are at least fifteen parishes and towns that have "Bradley" as part of their name throughout Britain. [1] Most are very small, but three of them date back to the Domesday Book of 1086: Bradley, Derbyshire (Braidelei); Bradley, Maiden Wiltshire (Bradelie) and Bradley in the Moors, Staffordshire (Bretlei.) [3] A reference to the family in the township of Wilpshire in Lancashire was also found. "This place appears to have been the property of the Braddylls, and of the monks of Whalley." [4]

Early spellings of the family were very different than those in use today as seen by early entries in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273: Robert de Bradeleye, Cambridgeshire; and Brice de Bradeleghe, Somerset. [5]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 also had early spellings: Willelmus Brodelegh; Agnes Brodelegh; and Agnes de Bradelay.

Kirby's Quest lists Richard de Bradleghe, Somerset, 1 Edward III and Henry de Bradleye, Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year's reign of King Edward III) [6]

Further to the north in Scotland, the family hails from "the lands of Braidlie in the barony of Hawick, Roxburghshire [where] John de Bradely rendered homage at Berwick in 1291 and William de Bradeleye of the county of Roxburghe rendered homage in 1296. The seal of William is a curious one, bearing a tree supported by two hares, the dexter one beating a cymbal or drum, the sinister playing a pipe; bird in top, a dog coiled at base, and legend S' Will'i de Bradeley." [7]

Early History of the Bradley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bradley research. Another 99 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1596, 1673, 1628, 1616, 1620, 1627, 1629, 1693, 1762, 1678, 1693, 1732 and are included under the topic Early Bradley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bradley Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Bradley include Bradley, Bradlie, Bradleigh, Bradly, Bradeley and others.

Early Notables of the Bradley family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Francis Bradley; and Thomas Bradley (ca.1596-1673), English chaplain to George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham and later Chaplain to King Charles I (1628.) "He became a battler of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1616, and proceeded B.A. on 21 July 1620. He was chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham for several years, and accompanied him in the expedition to Rochelle and the Isle of Rhé in 1627. After Buckingham's murder in the following year he became chaplain to Charles I, and on 16 June 1629 a captain in the expedition...
Another 98 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bradley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bradley World Ranking

In the United States, the name Bradley is the 181st most popular surname with an estimated 134,298 people with that name. [8] However, in Canada, the name Bradley is ranked the 349th most popular surname with an estimated 12,991 people with that name. [9] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Bradley is the 595th popular surname with an estimated 77 people with that name. [10] Australia ranks Bradley as 213rd with 15,609 people. [11] New Zealand ranks Bradley as 125th with 3,659 people. [12] The United Kingdom ranks Bradley as 117th with 42,006 people. [13]

Ireland Migration of the Bradley family to Ireland

Some of the Bradley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 119 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bradley migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Bradley were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Bradley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Bradley, who settled in Maryland in 1634
  • Daniell Bradley, aged 29, who arrived in New England in 1635 [14]
  • Dorothy Bradley, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [14]
  • Bartho Bradley, who arrived in Virginia in 1650 [14]
  • Francis Bradley, who settled in New Haven, Conn. in 1650
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bradley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Nathan Bradley, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1701 [14]
  • Tho Bradley, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [14]
  • Mary Bradley, who arrived in Georgia in 1738 [14]
  • John Bradley, who landed in Virginia in 1769-1770 [14]
  • Robert Bradley, who arrived in New York in 1795 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bradley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Patk Bradley, who landed in America in 1805 [14]
  • Cath Bradley, who landed in America in 1805 [14]
  • Henry Bradley, who arrived in South Carolina in 1809 [14]
  • James Bradley, who landed in America in 1811 [14]
  • Francis Bradley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Bradley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bradley Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • William Bradley, who settled in Carbonear in 1675
Bradley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Richard Bradley, who settled in Bonavista in 1787
  • John Bradley, who settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1798 [15]
Bradley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Bradley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • William Bradley was a planter in Western Bay, Newfoundland in 1826
  • Mary Bradley, aged 45, a widow, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Charles Bradley, aged 17, a shoemaker, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Mary Ann Bradley, aged 15, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Bradley migration to Australia +

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

Bradley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Bradley, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [16]
  • Mr. Joseph Bradley, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, the settlement was listed as abandoned and most of the convicts transported to Tasmania on the "Queen" in 1804 [17]
  • Mr. Thomas Bradley, British Convict who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [18]
  • Mr. John Bradley who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Dick" on 2nd October 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [19]
  • Mr. Richard Bradley who was convicted in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Dick" on 2nd October 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [19]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Bradley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Bradley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Francis Bradley, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841
  • Elizabeth Bradley, aged 34, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • William Bradley, aged 12, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • James Bradley, aged 10, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Charlotte Bradley, aged 6, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Bradley migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [20]
Bradley Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • George Bradley, who settled in Barbados in 1684

Contemporary Notables of the name Bradley (post 1700) +

  • David T. Bradley (1952-2022), American politician, Minority Leader of the Arizona Senate (2019-2021), Member of the Arizona Senate (2013-2021)
  • Harold Willard Bradley Jr. (1929-2021), American football player and actor, singer, and visual artist; he starred in over 25 Italian films as an actor and opened an art and music studio in Rome
  • Harold Ray Bradley (1926-2019), American guitarist and entrepreneur, inducted into the Musician's Hall of Fame in 2007
  • Charles Edward Bradley (1948-2017), American funk, soul and R&B singer
  • Major-General James Lester Bradley (1891-1957), American Chief of Staff, 4th Army (1940-1942) [21]
  • Major-General Follett Bradley (1890-1952), American Air Inspector, Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C. (1943-1944) [22]
  • Major-General Joseph Sladen Bradley (1900-1961), American Commanding General 25th Division, Korea (1948-1951) [23]
  • General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley (1893-1981), American Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff (1949-1953) [24]
  • Captain Willis Winter Bradley (1884-1954), Naval officer, a recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • William Warren "Bill" Bradley (b. 1943), American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, and former three-term Democratic U.S. Senator
  • ... (Another 22 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. John T Bradley (b. 1963), American Specialist 4th Class from Winchester, Kentucky, USA who died in the crash [25]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Ross Bradley (1920-1941), Australian Ordinary Seaman from Mosman Park, Western Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [26]
HMS Cornwall
  • Wilfred Bradley (d. 1942), British Coder aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [27]
HMS Dorsetshire
  • John Bradley (d. 1945), British Able Seaman aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [28]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Kenneth J Bradley (b. 1923), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Leicester, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [29]
  • Mr. Harold Bradley (b. 1922), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Gateshead, County Durham, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [29]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Thomas Bradley, English Trimmer from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [30]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Thomas Henry Bradley (1883-1912), aged 29, English Able Seaman from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [31]
  • Mr. Patrick Joseph Bradley (d. 1912), aged 39, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [31]
  • Miss Bridget Delia Bradley, aged 22, Irish Third Class passenger from Kingwilliamstown, Cork who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived in the sinking in life boat 13 [31]
  • Patrick Joseph Bradley (1873-1912), Scottish fireman, member of the engineering crew aboard the RMS Titanic who died in the sinking [31]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Bruce Dean Bradley, American Seaman Second Class from Illinois, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [32]


The Bradley Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Vigilance et audax
Motto Translation: Vigilant and bold.


Suggested Readings for the name Bradley +

  • The Ancestors of Leland Shaw Bradley by Leland Shaw Bradley.
  • The Bradley Family by Frederick W. Bradley.

  1. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, 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)
  6. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  7. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  8. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  9. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  10. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  11. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  12. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  13. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  14. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  15. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  16. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-cornwallis
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  18. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  19. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/Dick
  20. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  21. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 22) James Bradley. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Bradley/James_Lester/USA.html
  22. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 22) Follett Bradley. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Bradley/Follett/USA.html
  23. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 22) Joseph Bradley. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Bradley/Joseph_Sladen/USA.html
  24. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 22) of Bradley. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Bradley/Omar_Nelson/USA.html
  25. ^ American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from http://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=317&MemID=550
  26. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  27. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  28. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  29. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  30. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  31. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  32. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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