The surname of BURNETT was a variant of Burnard, from the Old English personal name BEORNHEARD. Early records of the name mention Roger Burnard who made two grants to the monks of Melrose from his lands of Faringdun in 1200. Roger Burnett, witnessed a charter by Stephen de Blar to the monks of Cupar, between 1208-32. In the year 1250 Patrick Burnat held lands near Gordon in Berwickshire. Henry Burnet is called 'serviens' of the Justiciary, 1264. Alexander Burnett went north in the train of Robert I, and received charters of lands in the forest of Drum and the barony of Tulliboyll in the sheriffdom of Kincardine. The Burnetts of Barns who gave name to Burnetland in the parish of Broughton, claimed descent from Robertus de Burneville, at the time of David I. Andrew Burnet registered as Jesus College, Oxford in the year 1546. Lewis Burnett and Jane Daniel were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1729. Joseph Sparkhall and Ann Burnett were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1789. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. The associated coat of arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Leys, County Aberdeen and Kincardine. The family settled there from 1324.
A notable member of the name was Gilbert BURNETT (1643-1715), the British historian and author of 'History of His Own Time' (1723-24). His Whig views having brought him into disfavour, he retired to the Hague on the accession of James II and became the confidential advisor of William of Orange.
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