Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet

Bures:- its origin.



Bures, the village name:-

The most likely scenario seems to come from the time of William the Conqueror:-

Ref 1:- In an edition of "The Falaise Roll" (men who were companions of William the Conqueror of 1066) it states:
MICHEL de BURES - "The origin of this family was BURES, near Bayeaux (Normandy, France), who owned an important castle*** there (pre 1066). Michel de Bures (according to the Edgerton Manuscripts in the British Museum) was first of the name who came to England. He accompanied William Duke of Normandy aka William the Conqueror to the Battle of Senlac (aka Battle of Hastings). He was given two manors in Somersetshire, one in Herfordshire, mentioned in the Domesday Survey(1076).

***Michel de Bures Castle in France
It existed in X and XIII century, castle of bur (on the town's current NOROÑA POTTERY near Bayeux), which was the country residence the Dukes of Normandy and the Kings of England.
Sadly, nothing remains today of the old chapel and the castle.
Ref:- Bayeux Museum France

Ref 2:-The Bowers of Iwerne House, Dorset, claim descent from Michael de Bures, a contemporary of the Conquerors, whose son Walter gave its present name of Bures to a small manor he possessed near Calne in Wiltshire. This has long since disappeared.

Ref 3:-Pierre de BURES was viscount of Dieppe and Arques, during the war of 1173-74 (reign of Henry II). The family prevailed in England in the counties of Stafford, Somerset, Berks, Gloucester, and others (including Suffolk) and others for centuries, and the name BURES is mentioned on the rolls of The Battle of Hastings by Hollinshead and Duchesne. John Bures and Hawise Musegros had a daughter, Catherine Bures.

Ref 4:- Strange that the entire parish (including the Essex part) was known as Bures St Mary, while the church was dedicated to All Saints? A clue appears in a charter of 1071, the earliest certain appearance of Bures in documented history. Signed by William the Conqueror himself (located in the British Museum), the charter refers to the Church of St Mary in Bures. Since, in the first five years after the conquest, the Normans were far too busy consolidating their power to build new churches, we can be certain that the Anglo-Saxon church in Bures was dedicated to St Mary. The town therefore takes its name from a much older church than our present day building.
Ref:- Leigh Alston

These are other "Bures" communities located in France:-
Bures, Orne, a commune of France in the department of Orne
Bures, Meurthe-et-Moselle, a commune of France in the department of Meurthe-et-Moselle
Bures-en-Bray, a commune of France in the department of Seine-Maritime
Bures-les-Monts, a commune of France in the department of Calvados
Bures-sur-Yvette, a commune of France in the department of Essonne

For other Bures variations click here

Other names used for Bures:-

Ref 1:- As far back as 893 AD we're told by Asser, that Edmund was consecrated as King at 'Burva', the royal seat at that time. No one actually knows for sure where this place was, but by long tradition - possibly dating back to the 12th century - 'Burva' has been identified with the village of Bures (St. Mary), on the river Stour south of Sudbury in Suffolk, which appears in Domesday Book as 'Bura'. An old hilltop chapel above the village is locally believed to be the site of Edmund's coronation, while there is a 'St. Edmund's Hill' a mile or so to the north.

Ref 2:- Edmund the Martyr, an East Anglian king, lived from about 840 to November 20, 869 or 870AD.
His coronation took place at Burva (possibly Bures St Mary or Bury in Suffolk).
Around 870AD the Danes rolled through Mercia and into East Anglia before arriving at Thetford. Legend has it Edmund and his army fought the Danes fiercely before the King was showered by Danish arrows after refusing to renounce his faith or hold his kingdom as a vassal from heathen overlords. His head and body were separated for years until, after a long search for a suitable burial site (Bury St Edmunds being eventually chosen), he was removed from his flimsy coffin and his wounds found to be healed and the only sign of decapitation was a thin red line

Ref 3:-History tells us on Christmas Day 855, Bishop Humbert of Elmham anointed a 14-year-old boy as King of the East Angles. The boy was Edmund, the chosen heir of King Offa, and his coronation was documented at `Burva`.

Ref 4:- "Galfridus de Fontibus" in 1156 describing the Death of Edmund, refers to the village as "Burum".
An ancient Royal Hill the boundary between Essex and Suffolk

Ref 5:- Other documents during that era refer to "BUERS"

Ref 6:-Trade tokens were not issued by the government but by merchants, tradesmen and manufacturers, because of a lack of small change coppers - pennies, halfpennies and farthings.
Tokens were traded in the village dated 1659 and engraved "BEWERS" .
Further info

Ref 7:- Documents describing the Waldegrave family in the early 1600`s, also refer to the village as "BEWERS"

Ref 8:- Will Dowsing who carried out so much damage to churches in 1693 wrote in his ledger:-
" BUEURS, Feb the 23rd. We brake down above 600 superstitions, Pictures, 8 Holy Ghosts, 3 of God the father and 3 of the Son.................."
Ref:- St Mary the Virgin Church Bures Records


Conclusion:- Certainly during the mid 1600`s the name "BURES" seems to have been adopted as the one we use today.
If anyone can shed some more light on this subject, then please contact us

Bures, the Surname.

Interestingly the name Bures is not confined to place names, it appears to be a very common name in Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia (CZ) to this day.
I have received correspondence from Australia and Texas (USA) from residents (or their parents)who have moved from the above two countries.
In some cases the Bures has been changed to BuresH and vice versa.
One correspondent wrote:-
When I went to CZ and other communist European countries in '85, I looked up my last name while in Vienna. There were over a hundred listings with my last name or the last name, BURESH.
I know my father told me that he heard that our name did have the "H" at the end, and it was dropped when our ancestors came to the USA.
At one time, CZ was called Austria-Hungary.

Searching the Polish Telephone Directory for the surname "Bures" lists numerous entries of that name today.

CANADA:- Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants, were 200 immigrants who arrived from the Normandie area of France onto Canadian shores between 1600 and 1900.
Although the majority arrived during the nineteenth century.

USA:- According to their 1880 Census, the majority of (Bures) immigrants were Farmers and Labourers.
They originated from Czechoslovakia, Austria, Germany, Russia and Ireland

CLICK HERE to look at the Ancestry.com forum on Bures.

Research Alan Beales