Bullmar History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient name of Bullmar finds its origins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from a name for a keeper of bull calves. This surname may also refer to an exuberant young man

"The most ancient of all the timeworn towers of Raby [Castle in Durham] bears two gigantic sculptured B's for Bertram de Bulmer, placed there when it was restored and heightened in the fourteenth century by John Lord Nevill; and the same letter is shown on his seals, and appears on the bordure of his shield in Durham Cathedral. " [1]

Early Origins of the Bullmar family

The surname Bullmar was first found in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, where one of the first records of the name was Antetin de Bulemer (Bulmere), one of the witnesses of a letter to King David I regarding the consecration of Robert, Bishop of St. Andrews at York in 1128. The village dates back to at least the Domesday Book where it was listed as Bolemere and literally meant "pool where bulls drink." [2]

The township of Sheepwash (or Shipwash) in Northumberland was home to another branch of the family. " The ancient mansion of the Bulmer family, here, is beautifully situated amidst gardens, orchards, and shrubberies of great luxuriance; and the parsonage-house of the parish, which is within the township, surrounded by the windings of the river, is also a very interesting feature." [3]

And another branch of the family was found at Thorpe-Bulmer in Durham. "This township derives the adjunct to its name from the family of Bulmer, one of whom, Sir John Bulmer, was attainted in the reign of Henry VIII." [3]

And yet another branch of the family was found at Wilton in the North Riding of Yorkshire. "Wilton Castle, recently built upon the site of the ancient baronial castle of the Bulmers, who possessed it for many generations, till Sir John Bulmer, Knt., was attainted of high treason, when his estates were confiscated." [3] Sheriff Hutton in the North Riding of Yorkshire was another ancient family seat. "This place is celebrated for its castle, erected in the time of Stephen (1140) by Bertram de Bulmer, from whose family it descended by marriage to the Nevilles, who held it till the battle of Barnet, in 1471, when Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, was slain, and his estates confiscated." [3]

Early History of the Bullmar family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bullmar research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1128, 1300, 1342, 1310, 1465, 1531, 1503, 1516, 1517, 1481, 1537, 1558 and 1537 are included under the topic Early Bullmar History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bullmar Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Bullmar family name include Bullmer, Bilmer, Bulmar, Bulmore, Bulmer and others.

Early Notables of the Bullmar family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Bertram Bulmer of Thirsdale; Lord Bulmer, Distinguished Parliamentarian 1342; Sir Ralph Bulmer, Lord of the Manor of Wilton in 1310; Sir William Bulmer (1465-1531), of Wilton, High Sheriff of Durham (1503-1516) and High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1517; and his son, Sir John Bulmer...
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bullmar Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bullmar family

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Bullmar surname or a spelling variation of the name include : John Bulmer who settled in Nova Scotia in 1774 with his wife and three sons; Thomas Bulmer settled in Virginia in 1636.



  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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