Burnye History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Burnye family brought their name to England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in the hundred of North Greenhow, Norfolk where the town of Berney (Barney) was once found. [1] Looking back further, the family were Norman and claimed descent from Calvados, Normandy. "Ralph de Bernai, of Worcester and Hereford, witnessed a charter of Malmsbury Abbey, temp. William I., and was a tenant of William Fitz- Osborne, Earl of Hereford. In 1096, Robert de Bernay witnessed a charter of Stephen, Count of Aumerle, for the monks of Beauvais (Monasticon Anglicanum). The Baronets Berney derive their name from the English locality. " [2]

Another source has a slightly different bent on the origin: "The baronet's family are asserted to have been seated 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. Bernays is of distinct origin, being a recent importation from Germany; it is supposed that the latter family were originally French, and that they derived their designation from the town of Bernay, in the department of the Eure, in Normandy." [3]

Early Origins of the Burnye family

The surname Burnye was first found in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Suffolk where Ralph de Bernai was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. [4] Many people claim descent from the Domesday Book, but truthfully few people do. This entry is particularly interesting as it is a record of a forename and surname, while in most cases only a surname is recorded.

Later Norfolk records show: Henry de Berney, 1268; Adam de Berney, 15 Edward I; Richard de Berney, 48 Edward III; Sir Thomas de Berney, of Reedham, 1389; and Roger Burney, vicar of Holm-by-the-Sea, 1451. [5]

Sir Robert Berney (before 1365-1415) of Great Witchingham, Norfolk was Sherriff of Norfolk and Suffolk from 1406-1430. His father (d. 1374) was elected knight of the shire for Norfolk four times between 1346 and 1368, and in the course of his career he acquired a number of landed holdings in the county.

Early History of the Burnye family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burnye research. Another 134 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1558, 1620, 1622, 1697, 1759, 1591, 1668, 1693, 1706, 1688, 1710, 1742, 1778, 1757, 1825, 1780, 1870, 1843, 1907, 1900, 1893, 1975 and 1952 are included under the topic Early Burnye History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Burnye Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Burnye were recorded, including Barney, Berney, Barny, Berny, Barnie, Bernie, Bernaye, Bairney, Bearnie, Bearny, Bernais, Berneys, Berneyes, Bearnay and many more.

Early Notables of the Burnye family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Barney who was listed on the Register of the University of Oxford in 1591. [1] The Berney Baronets, of Parkehall include: Sir Richard Berney, 1st Baronet (died 1668); Sir Thomas Berney, 2nd Baronet (died 1693); Sir Richard Berney, 3rd Baronet (died 1706); Sir Richard Berney, 4th Baronet (1688-1710)...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Burnye Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Burnye family to Ireland

Some of the Burnye 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 Burnye family

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Burnye arrived in North America very early: Jacob Barney who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1620; James Barney settled in Virginia in 1650; Phon Barney who settled in Virginia in 1650. Thomas Barney settled in St. John's Newfoundland 1821.



  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print


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