Show ContentsBrierly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Brierly family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in Brierley, a township in the parish of Felkirk, West Riding, Yorkshire. [1] Brierley-Hill is a a district chapelry, in the parish of King's Swinford, union of Stourbridge, N. division of the hundred of Seisdon in Staffordshire. [2]

Early Origins of the Brierly family

The surname Brierly was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire where the first record of the family was John de Brerelay who was listed as a Freemen of York, 13 Richard II (in the thirteenth year of King Richard II's reign.) [1]

Early History of the Brierly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brierly research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1782, 1586, 1637, 1586, 1654 and 1626 are included under the topic Early Brierly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brierly Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Brierly include Brierley, Brierly, Briarly, Briarley, Bryerly and others.

Early Notables of the Brierly family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Roger Brereley or Brierley (1586-1637), English divine and poet, born on 4 Aug. 1586, at Marland, then a hamlet in the parish of Rochdale, where Thomas Brereley, his father, and Roger, his grandfather, were farmers. "The name is spelled in many ways, but it seems best to adhere to the form which constantly recurs in the Rochdale baptismal register, as this undoubtedly represents the right pronunciation...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brierly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Brierly migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Brierly or a variant listed above:

Brierly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Isaac Brierly, aged 21, who arrived in New York in 1812 [3]
  • Joseph Brierly, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844 [3]
  • W, Brierly Jr., who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • John, Matthew, Thomas and Thomas Brierly, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1855 and 1868

Australia Brierly migration to Australia +

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

Brierly Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Brierly, (b. 1812), aged 15, English errand boy from Manchester who was convicted in County Down, Ireland for 7 years for house robbery, transported aboard the “Countess of Harcourt“ on 14th February 1827, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. James Brierly, (Brierley), (b. 1812), aged 15, Irish errand boy who was convicted in County Down, Ireland for 7 years for house robbery, transported aboard the "Countess of Harcourt" on 28th June 1827, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Brierly (post 1700) +

  • Justin W. Brierly (1905-1985), American educator and lawyer
  • Sir Oswald Walters Brierly (1817-1894), English marine painter
  • David Brierly (1935-2008), British actor, best known for being the voice of the robot dog K-9 in the BBC Doctor Who series

HMS Royal Oak
  • Arthur Brierly, British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [6]

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. 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)
  4. Convict Records of Australia. Retrieved 19th April 2021 from
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th April 2021). Retrieved from
  6. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook