Brunlay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Brunlay comes from the family having resided in Lancashire, where they derived their name from the town of Burnley, in the parish of Whalley. The name is generally believed to be derived from "Brun Lea" meaning "meadow by the River Brun." [1]

Early Origins of the Brunlay family

The surname Brunlay was first found in Lancashire, where Burnley dates back to 1122, when a charter granted the church of Burnley to the monks of Pontefract Abbey. The Market Cross, erected in 1295 survives today at Burnley College.

Early History of the Brunlay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brunlay research. Another 229 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1500, 1662, 1691 and 1732 are included under the topic Early Brunlay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brunlay Spelling Variations

Brunlay has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Burnley, Brunlay, Burnlie, Burnly, Bernley and others.

Early Notables of the Brunlay family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Brunlay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Brunlay family

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Brunlays to arrive on North American shores: Peter Burnley who arrived in Maryland in 1685 and John Burnley who arrived in Philadelphia in 1846.



The Brunlay 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: Pretiumque et causa laboria
Motto Translation: The reward and cause of labour.


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)


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