Show ContentsBurleigh History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestry of the name Burleigh dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in the fort by the wood having derived from the Old English burhleah. [1]

The name dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where Wihenoc de Burli was listed as holding lands in Norfolk. [2] Over one hundred years later, John de Burgeley was found in Hertfordshire in the Feet of Fines for 1198 and later, John of Burlay was registered in Warwickshire in the Assize Rolls in 1249. [3]

Early Origins of the Burleigh family

The surname Burleigh was first found in Somerset where Burley Castle where a motte and bailey castle of the late 11th or early 12th century remains to this day. The village and civil parish Burley, or Burley-on-the-Hill, is located two miles north-east of Oakham in Rutland. Burleigh Castle is located near the village of Milnathort, in Perth and Kinross, Scotland and dates from the 15th and 16th centuries. It was held by the Balfours from 1446. Burleigh is also a village in Berkshire, England, within the civil parish of Warfield.

Some of the earliest records of the family include: John Burley (d. 1333), a Carmelite of Stamford; Walter Burley (or Burleigh), (c.1275-1344), a medieval English logician, Master of Arts at Oxford in 1301, and a fellow of Merton College, Oxford until 1305; and Sir Simon Burley (1336-1388), an early English warrior and favourite from a Herefordshire family. "His parentage is uncertain, but he appears to have been a younger brother rather than a son of the Sir John Burley who received the Garter at the accession of Richard II." [4] He was accused and sentenced for abuse of power by the parliament 5 May 1388 and sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, which was commuted by the king. He was summarily beheaded the same day. [4]

Early History of the Burleigh family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burleigh research. Another 191 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1437, 1409, 1336, 1388, 1384, 1388, 1388, 1485 and 1510 are included under the topic Early Burleigh History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Burleigh Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Burleigh have been found, including Burley, Burleigh, Burlie, Burrley, Burrlie, Burrleigh, Burly, Bourley, Bourleigh, Bourly, Berly and many more.

Early Notables of the Burleigh family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Burley, Speaker of the House of Commons of England in March 1437; and John Burley, Sheriff of county Salop in 1409. Sir Simon de Burley (ca.1336-1388), was Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Burleigh Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Burleigh Ranking

In the United States, the name Burleigh is the 7,917th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Burleigh family to Ireland

Some of the Burleigh family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 46 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Burleigh migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Burleigh, or a variant listed above:

Burleigh Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Abell Burleigh, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [6]
Burleigh Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Burleigh, who arrived in Virginia in 1719 [6]
  • William Burleigh, who settled in Virginia in 1729
  • Robert Burleigh, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [6]
  • Francis Burleigh, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1773
Burleigh Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George William Burleigh, who settled in New York State early in the seventeenth century
  • H Burleigh, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]
  • Mr. Richard Burleigh, (b. 1871), aged 21, Cornish ropemaker travelling aboard the ship "Majestic" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 28th January 1892 en route to Havana, Florida, USA [7]
  • Annie Burleigh, aged 53, who immigrated to the United States, in 1896
Burleigh Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Charlotte Burleigh, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States from Fermanagh, in 1903
  • Edith Burleigh, aged 30, who landed in America from London, England, in 1907
  • Charles Burleigh, aged 26, who immigrated to the United States from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1909
  • Alston Burleigh, aged 9, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Christian Seath Burleigh, aged 22, who landed in America from Liverpool, England, in 1913
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Burleigh migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Burleigh Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Fredk Burleigh, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • John Burleigh, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. John Burleigh U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [8]

Australia Burleigh migration to Australia +

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

Burleigh Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Burleigh 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:

Burleigh Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Henrietta Burleigh, (b. 1850), aged 20, British general servant travelling from London aboard the ship "Monarch" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 6th September 1870 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Burleigh (post 1700) +

  • Henry "Harry" Thacker Burleigh (1866-1949), American classical composer, arranger, and professional baritone
  • Nina D. Burleigh (b. 1959), American writer and journalist
  • William Burleigh (1785-1827), American politician, United States Representative from Maine
  • Albert Peter Burleigh (b. 1942), American diplomat, US Ambassador to the UN (1997-1999)
  • Walter Atwood Burleigh (1820-1896), American physician, lawyer, and pioneer, who was a non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Dakota Territory
  • Martin Stewart Burleigh (1951-2021), English professional footballer who made 222 appearances in the Football League playing as a goalkeeper for Newcastle United, Darlington, Carlisle United and Hartlepool United
  • James Burleigh (1869-1917), English football whop played from 1890 to 1892 for the Wolverhampton Wanderers
  • Michael Burleigh (b. 1955), British Medieval author and historian
  • Very Rev. John Burleigh, British Professor of Ecclesiastical History, of Edinburgh University
  • Charles Burleigh Galbreath (1858-1934), American writer, historian, educator, and librarian

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  8. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. Convict Records of Australia. Retreived 18th January 2021 from
  10. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook