Bunkay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Bunkay is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bunkay family lived in Suffolk at Bungay, a market town that dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Bunghea, probably derived from the Old English personal name + inga + eg and meant "island of the family or followers of a man called Buna." [1] Another reference claims the placename was derived from the term "le-bon-eye," signifying "the good island," as it was nearly surrounded by the river Waveney, which was once a broad stream. Soon after the Norman Conquest, a castle was built, which, from its situation and the strength of its fortifications, was deemed impregnable by its possessor, Hugh Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, in the reign of Stephen; but that monarch, in the 6th of his reign, in the year 1140, came with his army and took it. Over the years Bungay Castle has fallen into ruins, but in 1934 the amateur archaeologist Leonard Cane convinced people that a restoration was needed. Today it is owned by the Bungay Castle Trust.

Early Origins of the Bunkay family

The surname Bunkay was first found in Suffolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Bungay at the time of the Norman Conquest of England by Duke William of Normandy in 1066 A.D. Conjecturally they are descended from William de Noyers who held the lands of Bungay from the King. At the time of the taking of the Domesday Book survey in 1086 the holdings consisted of 4 Churches, 2.5 mills, 60 goats and 100 sheep. Bungay Castle was built by the Norman Earl Hugh Bigod in the 12th century.

Reginal de Bungheye was Lord Mayor of London in 1240. Thomas Bungay (fl. 1290), was a learned Franciscan friar, born at Bungay, Suffolk, and educated at Paris and Oxford. He became the tenth reader in divinity at Oxford. He later moved to Cambridge, where he held a similar position. [2]

Early History of the Bunkay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bunkay research. Another 40 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 158 and 1588 are included under the topic Early Bunkay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bunkay Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Bunkay include Bungey, Bungay, Bunker, Bunkar, Bunkey, Bunkay, Bungy and many more.

Early Notables of the Bunkay family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Bunkay family

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Bunkays to arrive on North American shores: James and George Bunker who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1630; George Bunker settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1630; G. and J. Bunker arrived in San Francisco Cal. in 1850.



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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