Bailey Family History
The ancient origin of the name Bailey was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'Bailiff or steward', variants of Bailey include Baillie, Bailie, Bellew and Baily. This name is of Anglo-Norman descent spreading to Ireland, Scotland and Wales in early times and is found in many mediaeval manuscripts in the above countries. Examples of such are a William de Bailli who appears as juror on an inquest concerning forfeited lands in Lothian. The earliest references in Ireland of the name render under Beleawe which is close to the original French 'Bel-eau'. The family went to England, from Normandy, with William the conqueror, settling in County Louth, Ireland, after the Anglo-Norman invasion. In Scotland there were a number of prominent families, notably, Polkemmet, Jerviswood, and Dochfour. The Baillies of Dunain are believed to have been founded by a younger son of the House of Lamington. Through the marriage of Colonel James Baillie, the title of Baron Burton came into the Dochfour family. In Ireland Bailey is often a variant of Bellew.
The Bailey 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 Bailey descendants.