Burke / Family History
The Burke ancient family history was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'Dweller at the Fortress', this name came to Ireland with the Anglo-Norman Invasion in the person of William de Burgo who succeeded Strongbow as Chief Govenor. They owned vast estates in 1179, where the territory was granted to Richard de Burgo by Henry the III. The Burkes formed several septs, which were known as MacWilliam Vachtar (Galway), MacWilliam Iochtar (Mayo), MacDavie, MacGibbon, MacHugo, MacRedmond and MacSeoinin. After the battle of Kinsale, the leading Burkes displayed more loyalty to their King rather than their country. When the loyalties coincided during James II rule, they were found to be the leading men of the Confederate Catholics.The Burke family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Burke descendants.