This surname was of the locational group of surnames 'of Burci' a place in France. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village where he lived. This name identified his whole family and followed them wherever they moved. The Old English form of the name was BEORHTSIGE, and was found in early documents in County Devon as BIRHSIE. The earliest of the name on record in Serlo de Burci, who was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Serlo Borci was documented in County Somerset in 1185, and Hugh Bursey was recorded in 1275 in County Norfolk. John le Bursey of County Somerset, appeared during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). William Bersey of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Smythe and Joyce Bursey were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1563. Surnames in England were first noted in the Domesday Book of 1086, when those of noble birth began to realize that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1327-1377) that it became general practice amongst all people. 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. The lion is the noblest of all beasts, denoting strength and courage, and for that reason is frequently borne on coat armour.
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