Virny History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Virny is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Virny family lived in "Vernai, near Bayeux, Normandy. Walter de Vernai occurs in Cambridgeshire in 1158, and Richard de Vernai in Staffordshire in the time of Richard I. The Lords Willoughby de Broke descend from William de Vernai, living 1119-1148. They were first seated at Bromshulfe in Staffordshire, and in the beginning of the fourteenth century at Madeley in Herefordshire, but as early as the reign of Henry VL we find them settled in their present home in Warwickshire." [1]

Early Origins of the Virny family

The surname Virny was first found in Warwickshire where in 1442 Richard de Vernay built a stately manor house at Compton-Murdack, which as Compton-Vernay, still continues to be the family seat. His grandson, another Richard, was "in such esteem with Henry VIII., that, being informed of some infirmity in his head, he granted him a special license, dated Greenwich, January 15th, 1517, to wear his bonnet at all times and in all places, as well in the King's presence as elsewhere, according to his own pleasure, without the interruption of any man whatsoever." [1]

Apparently, Richard Verney (d.1489) with the assistance of his younger brother John Verney, Dean of Lichfield, formerly Rector of Bredon in Worcestershire, and supervisor and receiver-general to Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick (1382-1439) acquired Compton Murdack (Murdak). The Verney family had begun acquiring lands in the area surrounding Compton Murdak in the 1430s before purchasing the estate. In about 1500 the manor was renamed Compton Verney as was built c. 1442.

Wenzel Hollar (1607-1677) completed a full sketch of the stained glass windows in the manor house depicting various arms of the family and kings at the time.

"Richard Verney Esquire (afterward knight) possest it and built a great part of the house as it now standeth, wherein besides his own armes with matches, he then set up towards the upper end of the hall the armes of King Henry the Sixth, Queen Margaret, Humfrey Earl of Stafford (afterwards created Duke of Buck(ingham)), Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick, and the Lord Zouch, with some others, by which it appeareth that he was one of those that adhered to the House of Lancaster".

The Earls Verney descended from Sir Ralph Verney, whose son John married a Hertfordshire heiress, the daughter of Sir Robert Whittington of Penley, Sheriff of London in 1419. They were afterwards seated at Middle Claydon, Bucks (bought by Sir Ralph in 1458), and "either he, or his son Sir John, built a capital mansion there in the reign of Henry VII., which has ever since been the chief seat of the family, but having undergone many alterations, retains no vestige of its ancient form. The more modern part was fitted up in a very magnificent manner, and furnished, with great expense, by the late Earl Verney." [1]

Early History of the Virny family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Virny research. Another 136 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1419, 1465, 1642, 1703 and 1791 are included under the topic Early Virny History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Virny Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Varney, Verney and others.

Early Notables of the Virny family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Edmund Verney, standard bearer to King Charles I., who fell at the battle of Edgehill in 1642. He was the father of Sir Ralph, the first Baronet, and the grandfather of Sir John, created in 1703 Baron Verney of Belturbet and Viscount of Fermanagh in Ireland. An Earldom followed...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Virny Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Virny family to Ireland

Some of the Virny 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 Virny family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Virny or a variant listed above: E. Varney settled in Belfast, Maine, in 1822; H.J. Varney arrived in San Francisco in 1852.



  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3


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