Burnay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Burnay came to England with the ancestors of the Burnay family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Burnay family lived in Norfolk, where they were established since the early Middle Ages. The family's name, however, derives from their former place of residence, the town of Bernai, in the department of Eure, Normandy. The popularity of this given name among Normans in the centuries immediately following the Norman Conquest of 1066 was greatly increased by virtue of its having been borne by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (c.1090-1153) founder and abbott of a monastery at Clairvaux.
Early Origins of the Burnay family
The surname Burnay was first found in Norfolk, where they claim descent from Berney, in the hundred of North Greenhow. The local has been lost through the years, but the family held a family seat at Park Hall in the parish of Reedham. "The baronet's family are asserted to have been at Berney, near Walsingham, co, Norfolk at the time of the Norman Conquest a great improbability, although their very early settlement there cannot be questioned."  What we have confirmed is the family seat was "acquired by the marriage of Sir Thomas de Berney with Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir William de Reedham in the reign of Edward III. " 
Early History of the Burnay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burnay research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1620, 1622, 1668, 1622, 1693, 1706, 1688 and 1710 are included under the topic Early Burnay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Burnay Spelling Variations
Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Berney, Berny, Bernay, Bernays, Bernys, Burney and others.
Early Notables of the Burnay family (pre 1700)
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Burnay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Burnay family to Ireland
Some of the Burnay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Burnay family
Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Burnay or a variant listed above: Clough Berny who settled in Virginia in 1635; William Burney, and his wife settled with their three sons, his mother and father William, in Louisiana in 1797.
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: Nil temere, neque timore
Motto Translation: Nothing rashly.
- Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.