Burtwhistle Coat of Arms / Burtwhistle Family Crest
This surname was a locational name 'of Birtwistle' a spot in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families.
The names introduced into Britain by the Normans during and in the wake of the Invasion of 1066, are nearly all territorial in origin. The followers of William the Conqueror were a pretty mixed lot, and while some of them brought the names of their castles and villages in Normandy with them, many were adventurers of different nationalities attached to William's standard by the hope of plunder, and possessing no family or territorial names of their own. Those of them who acquired lands in England were called by their manors, while others took the name of the offices they held or the military titles given to them, and sometimes, a younger son of a Norman landowner, on receiving a grant of land in his new home dropped his paternal name and adopted that of his newly acquired property. Early records of the name mention Henricus Birktwysell, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Gilbert Birtwistle of Love Clough, was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1594. Anthony Birtwessel, registered at Oxford University in the year 1566.
The name is also spelt Birtwistle.
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