Show ContentsBecke History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Becke arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Becke family 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 Becke family

The surname Becke 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 Becke family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Becke 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 Becke History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Becke Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Beck, Becke, Bech, Beche and others.

Early Notables of the Becke 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 Becke Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Becke family to Ireland

Some of the Becke 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 Becke migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Becke or a variant listed above:

Becke Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Becke, who landed in Virginia in 1631 [6]
Becke Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Frans Becke, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1793 [6]

  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