The surname of BURNESS was derived from the Old English word BURNA - the dweller by the stream. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Godric aet Burnan of the County of Kent in 1044. Almaris de Brunna, was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Robert del Burne of the County of Surrey in 1332. This surname which occured in England in early times was in Scotland as Burness. Burneshead, Cumberland, was the seat of a family of Burnes up to the reign of Edward I (1272-1307).
A family of the name of Burns were leaseholders of the lands of Bralinmuir and Bogjordan, which form the estate of Inchbreck in the early part of the sixteenth century. David Burnis a follower of the earl of Cassilus was respited for murder in 1526, and a later David Burnis was the burgess of Ayr in 1587. Edward Burne and Susanna Basile were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1754. David Burnis was burgess of Ayr in 1587. Robert Burns's right name was Burness. but he and his brother Gilbert agreed to drop Burness and assume Burns in April 1786. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. 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.
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