Byrlay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Byrlay family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Byrlay 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 Byrlay family

The surname Byrlay 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 Byrlay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Byrlay 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 Byrlay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Byrlay Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Byrlay has appeared include Burley, Burleigh, Burlie, Burrley, Burrlie, Burrleigh, Burly, Bourley, Bourleigh, Bourly, Berly and many more.

Early Notables of the Byrlay 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 Byrlay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Byrlay family to Ireland

Some of the Byrlay 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.

Migration of the Byrlay family

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Byrlay arrived in North America very early: Abell Burleigh who settled in Virginia in 1652; followed by William in 1729; George William Burleigh, who settled in New York State early in the seventeenth century.



  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


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