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Barlee Coat of Arms / Barlee Family Crest

The surname of BARLEE was a locational name 'of Barley' a parish in County Hertfordshire, near Barkway. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Josce Barlibred, 1185, County Norfolk. Jordan Barlie, was recorded in the year 1221, in the County of Lancashire. William de Berele, was documented in the year 1273 in County Cambridge. Edwarde Barleye of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Later instances of the name include Richard Barley of Overton, Lancashire who was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1573 and Richard Barley of Hertford, registered at Oxford University in the year 1596. James Barlay and Elizabeth Miller were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in 1603. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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