The surname Burke is of English origin. It is derived from a topographical name from the Middle English ‘burc’,’burk’ fort, from the Old English ‘burh or the Old High German ‘burg’ the common Germanic word for a fortfication.In the Middle Ages any sizeable habitation had to be fortified, but in England the term ‘burc’ came to be specialized to denote the site of a prehistoric hill fort; while its doublet ‘burig’, ‘borough’ denoted a fortified manor house or fortified town.The frequency of this surname in Ireland is due to William FitzAdelm de Burgo, a Norman knight from Burgh in Suffolk,who invaded Ireland with Henry II in 1171 and recieved the earldom of Ulster,along with large tracts of land in Connacht. His descendants quickly associated themselves with the native population,Gaelicizing their name as de Burca.Within a century they became the most powerful family in Ireland.The family since the reigns of Henry III and Edward I became one of the most esteemed,opulent and powerful of the Anglo-Norman settlers in Ireland under Str… Coat of arms: Or, a cross gules, in the dexter canton a lion ramp…
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