This unusual surname is of medieval English origin, and is a locational name either from Bardsea, an ecclesiastical district and village near Ulverston in Lancashire, or from Bardsey, north east of Leeds in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The former place, recorded as "Berretseige" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Berdeseia" in early Lancastrian Charters, dated 1155, is so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Beornred", composed of the elements "beorn", bear, with "raed", counsel, and "eg, ieg", island, piece of land surrounded by streams.The latter place, appearing as "Berdesei" in the Domesday Book, and as "Berdeseye" in the 1230 Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, shares the same meaning and derivation. The surname, with variant spellings Birdshey, Birdsay, Burdsey, Bardsay(e) and Berdsay, is well recorded in English Church Registers from the mid 16th Century. In August 1552, Jenet Bardsaie and Richard Lindoe were married in Ulverston, Lancashire, and on July 5th 1612, Thomas Birdsey married a Joyce Lyn at All Hallows, London Wall, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield with two red bars, on a canton a maunch of the first. The canton stands very high among honourable bearings and is often charged with some special symbol granted by the sovereign in reward for the performance of eminent service. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jayne Bardsaye, which was dated April 10th 1544, christened at Wragby, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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