Brinkley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Brinkley name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in or near the settlement of Brinkley in the county of Cambridgeshire.

Early Origins of the Brinkley family

The surname Brinkley was first found in Cambridgeshire at Brinkley, a small village about 15 miles from Cambridge in the union of Newmarket, hundred of Radfield. [1] The village dates back to the late 12th century when it was first listed as Brinkelai and literally meant "woodland clearing of a man called Brynca," from the Old English personal name + "leah." [2]

Early History of the Brinkley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brinkley research. Another 35 words (2 lines of text) covering the years 1550, 1585, 1583 and 1546 are included under the topic Early Brinkley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brinkley 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 Brinkley include Brinkley, Bringley, Bringle, Bringlow, Bringley, Brinklow, Brinkley and many more.

Early Notables of the Brinkley family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: John Brinkley, Bishop of Cloyne; and Stephen Brinkley (b. 1550-1585?), an English printer, covertly producing Roman Catholic literature under Elizabeth I of England. He was tortured at the Tower of London but was discharged in June 1583. Henry Brinkelow (d. 1546), was an English satirist, the...
Another 54 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brinkley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brinkley Ranking

In the United States, the name Brinkley is the 2,440th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Brinkley family to Ireland

Some of the Brinkley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Brinkley 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 Brinkley or a variant listed above:

Brinkley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Brinkley, who settled in New England in 1755
  • John Brinkley, who settled in New England in 1773

Australia Brinkley migration to Australia +

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

Brinkley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Brinkley, aged 36, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Trafalgar" [4]

New Zealand Brinkley 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:

Brinkley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J Brinkley, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Dinapore" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 5th August 1857 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Brinkley (post 1700) +

  • Alan Brinkley (1949-2019), American historian, Allan Nevins Professor of History at Columbia University, University Provost (2003 to 2009)
  • Ritch Brinkley (1944-2015), American character actor best known for playing William in Beauty and the Beast
  • John Brinkley (b. 1931), American actor and writer, known for A Bucket of Blood (1959), T-Bird Gang (1959) and Teenage Doll (1957)
  • Donald Alan "Don" Brinkley (1921-2012), American award-winning television writer, director and producer, adoptive father of Christie Brinkley
  • David McClure Brinkley (1920-2003), American broadcast journalist, news anchor of the Huntley-Brinkley Report, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Christie Brinkley (b. 1954), born Christie Lee Hudson, famous American super model who had three consecutive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers through 1981
  • Joel Graham Brinkley (1952-2014), American syndicated columnist, son of news anchor David Brinkley, awarded the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1980
  • Douglas Brinkley (b. 1960), American author and professor of history at Rice University
  • David R. Brinkley, American Republican politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates District 4-A; Elected 1998 [6]
  • Christie Brinkley, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 2000 [6]
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Brinkley 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: Mutabimur
Motto Translation: Be changed

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) TRAFALGAR 1850. Retrieved
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from on Facebook