Brunley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Brunley surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived 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 Brunley family

The surname Brunley 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 Brunley family

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

Brunley Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Brunley include Burnley, Brunlay, Burnlie, Burnly, Bernley and others.

Early Notables of the Brunley family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Brunley family

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants: Peter Burnley who arrived in Maryland in 1685 and John Burnley who arrived in Philadelphia in 1846.



The Brunley 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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