Beaufoy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

Early Origins of the Beaufoy family

The surname Beaufoy was first found in Norfolk and Suffolk. The name literally means "fair faith" and claims descent from "a locality now called Beau-Fai, in the arrondissement of Mortagne, in Normandy. Ralph de Bella Faago, or Beaufoy, accompanied the Conqueror, and became a tenant in chief in Norfolk and Suffolk. He was a near relative of William be Beaufoe, the Conqueror's chancellor and chaplain." [1]

Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Swanton Moreley, where Robert de Belfou was Lord of that manor and held many other lordships in that county.

John Beaufort, 1st Marquess of Somerset and 1st Marquess of Dorset, KG (c. 1373-1410) was the first of the four children of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress Katherine Swynford. He was the progenitor of what would later be known as the House of Beaufort, a line of wealthy and powerful English nobles.

Important Dates for the Beaufoy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beaufoy research. Another 66 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1377, 1447, 1403, 1444, 1406, 1455, 1431 and 1501 are included under the topic Early Beaufoy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beaufoy Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Beaufoy, Beauford, Beauford, Beaufort, Beauforest, Beauforth, Bewfort, Bewford, Bufoy, Ballafay, Belfou, Beaufow and many more.

Early Notables of the Beaufoy family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Beaufort (1377-1447), English prelate, Bishop of Winchester and Cardinal, second and illegitimate son of John of Gaunt by Catherine; John Beaufort (1403-1444), first Duke of Somerset, military commander, the son of John Beaufort, eldest son of John of Gaunt; Edmund Beaufort, (1406-1455), 2nd Duke of Somerset, an English nobleman and an important figure in the Wars of the...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Beaufoy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Beaufoy family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Beaufoy or a variant listed above were: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..

Contemporary Notables of the name Beaufoy (post 1700)

  • Henry Beaufoy (1750-1795), English politician, son of a Quaker wine merchant, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in February 1782, Member of Parliament for Minehead (1783-1784) and for Great Yarmouth (1784-1795)
  • Mark Hanbury Beaufoy JP (1854-1922), English vinegar manufacturer, politician and author of A Father's Advice, a famous poem about gun safety
  • Mark Beaufoy (1718-1782), English businessman from Evesham, founder of a vinegar factory in Lambeth, London, father of Colonel Mark Beaufoy
  • Colonel Mark Beaufoy FRS (1764-1827), English astronomer and physicist, mountaineer and explorer, first-known English climber to make an ascent of Mont Blanc in the Alps
  • Simon Beaufoy (b. 1967), English screenwriter, film director and producer
  • Henry Beaufoy Merlin (1830-1873), English photographer from London who emigrated to Sydney, Australia, arriving on 8 December 1848; he and Charles Bayliss toured the countryside photographing the scenery

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Citations

  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
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