Show ContentsBech History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Bech family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The name, however, derives from the Old Norse word bekkr, meaning stream. The term beck which refers to a running stream is quite common in the north of England. [1] The names of several towns in northern France were based on variants of this word.

Early Origins of the Bech family

The surname Bech was first found in Berkshire and Dorset. The Domesday Book of 1086 as two listings for the family: Walter Bec in Berkshire and Geoffrey de Bech in Dorset. [2] "The DB under-tenants probably came from Bec-Hellouin (Eure). Others may have come from one of the numerous places in France named Bec." [3]

"The palace [of Bishop Auckland, Durham], originally erected in the reign of Edward I. by Bishop Anthony Beck, and subsequently enlarged, was much injured by Sir Arthur Haslerigg, to whom it was sold by the Parliamentary Commissioners. The chapel attached to the palace is a fine edifice in the early and decorated styles, built originally by Bishop Beck, and repaired about 1660 by Bishop Cosin." [4]

Robert de Besso was found in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1199 and later, Adam del Bec in the Curia Regis Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1207. In Essex, records there show Henry Delebec and Ralph de Bek (his son) in 1263, and in Yorkshire, Robert Atebek was found in the Subsidy Rolls of 1297. [3]

"Bek is the name of a family in Lincolnshire, from which sprang several men of eminence in the thirteenth century. The Beks were descended from one Walter Bek, called in the 'Great Survey' Walter Flandrensis, who came over with William the Conqueror, and received from him the lordship of Firesby in Lincolnshire, 'et multa alia maneria.' From his three sons, I. Henry, II. Walter, and III. John, sprung three great Lincolnshire families: I. Bek of Eresby, II. Bek of Luceby, III. Bek of Botheby." [5]

Antony Bek (d. 1310), was Bishop of Durham and the son of Walter, Baron of Eresby, in Lincolnshire. Thomas Bek I (d. 1293), was Bishop of St. David's, and the second son of Walter Bek, Baron of Eresby.

Antony Bek II (1279-1343), was Bishop of Norwich, born on 5 Aug. 1279, and was the second of the three sons of Walter Bek of Luceby, Constable of Lincoln Castle. Thomas Bek II (1282-1347), was Bishop of Lincoln, born on 22 Feb. 1282 and was the youngest of the three sons of Walter Bek of Luceby, Constable of Lincoln Castle. [5]

Early History of the Bech family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bech research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1330, 1282, 1347, 1341, 1279, 1343, 1293, 1623, 1706, 1657, 1623, 1706, 1623, 1656, 1550, 1551, and 1929 are included under the topic Early Bech History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bech 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 Beck, Becke, Bech, Beche and others.

Early Notables of the Bech family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas Bek (1282-1347), Bishop of Lincoln from 1341 until his death; Antony Bek (1279-1343), Bishop of Norwich as well as being elected Bishop of Lincoln; Thomas Bek (died 1293), Bishop of St David's; and Cave Beck (1623-c.1706), an English schoolmaster and clergyman, author of "The Universal Character" in 1657 which he proposed a universal language based on a numerical...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bech Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bech family to Ireland

Some of the Bech family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 88 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bech migration to the United States +

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 Bech or a variant listed above were:

Bech Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joh Nickel Bech, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1754 [6]
Bech Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Adelgunde Bech, aged 40, who settled in America, in 1892
  • Anthon Bech, aged 39, who landed in America, in 1892
  • Carl A.R. Bech, aged 48, who immigrated to the United States, in 1896
Bech Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Ernestina Bech, aged 16, who settled in America from Katyna, Austria, in 1907
  • Elsbeta Bech, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States from Erlebrunn, Germany, in 1910
  • Conrad Wm. Bech, aged 42, who settled in America from Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1911
  • Charles Bech, aged 45, who landed in America, in 1913
  • Anine Kristine Bech, aged 23, who immigrated to the United States from Ersler, Denmark, in 1913
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bech (post 1700) +

  • Joseph Bech (1887-1975), Luxembourg politician, 15th Prime Minister of Luxembourg
  • Uffe Manich Bech (b. 1993), Danish footballer
  • Poul Erik Bech (b. 1938), former Danish football manager
  • Poul Anker Bech (1942-2009), Danish painter
  • Jerome Bech (b. 1970), Dutch artist
  • Lili Bech (1883-1939), Danish silent film actress who appeared in 27 films
  • Troels Bech (b. 1966), Danish football manager and a former player
  • Jesper Bech (b. 1982), Danish professional footballer
  • Pia Bech Mathiesen (1962-2016), Danish designer and entrepreneur
  • Holger Bech Nielsen (b. 1941), Danish theoretical physicist, professor at the University of Copenhagen

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8) on Facebook