Show ContentsBeckford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Beckford comes from when the family resided in Gloucestershire, where they derived their name from the place named Beckford, which was located about six miles south of Tewesbury. The place-name is derived from the Old English terms becca, which means stream, and ford, which refers to a place where a river may be crossed by wading. [1]

Early Origins of the Beckford family

The surname Beckford was first found in Gloucestershire at Beckford, a parish, in the union of Winchcomb, partly in the hundred of Tibaldstone, and partly in the Upper division of the hundred of Tewkesbury, While technically located in Gloucestershire, the parish is on the border with Worcestershire, so some references claim the parish is located there. An ancient Saxon village, the first listing of the pace name was found in 803 as Beccanford. [2] Beckford is a "parish in Gloucestershire, in which the family first appear in connection with the Abbey of Gloucester in the XII century." [3]

"Beckford, at the foot of the Bredon Hills, is five miles from Tewkesbury. The original name of the manor was Beccanford, where was an alien Augustinian Priory, attached to Ste. Barbe-en-Auge, on the Dive." [4]

Early History of the Beckford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beckford research. Another 74 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1762, 1769, 1887, 1685, 1643, 1710, 1702, 1672, 1735, 1709, 1770, 1762 and 1769 are included under the topic Early Beckford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beckford Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Beckford include Beckford, Bekford, Beckforth and others.

Early Notables of the Beckford family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Major Sir Thomas Beckford (d. 1685), a London clothworker and slopseller who became Sheriff of London; and Colonel Peter Beckford (1643-1710), Governor of Jamaica in 1702; when he died suddenly, he was the wealthiest planter in Jamaica...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Beckford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beckford Ranking

In the United States, the name Beckford is the 7,857th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

United States Beckford migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Beckford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Beckford, who landed in New England in 1659 [6]
  • Elizabeth Beckford, who settled in Maryland in 1677

Canada Beckford migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Beckford Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
Beckford Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Henry Beckford, who settled in Lance Cove, Newfoundland in 1827 [7]
  • David Beckford, who landed in Canada in 1831

Australia Beckford migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Beckford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Beckford, English convict who was convicted in Winchester, Hampshire, England for 6 years, transported aboard the "Edwin Fox" on 24th August 1858, arriving in Western Australia, Australia [8]
  • Mr. William Beckford, (b. 1840), aged 20, Cornish seaman who immigrated to New South Wales, Australia aboard the ship "Ardmillan" convicted at Darlinghurst Gaol in 1860 [9]

West Indies Beckford migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [10]
Beckford Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Edward Beckford who settled in Jamaica in 1661
  • Peter Beckford who arrived in Jamaica in 1690
Beckford Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • John Beckford who settled in Jamaica in 1774

Contemporary Notables of the name Beckford (post 1700) +

  • Tyson Craig Beckford (b. 1970), American super model and actor
  • William Thomas Beckford (1760-1844), English novelist, art critic, travel writer, slave owner and politician [11]
  • William Beckford (1709-1770), English alderman and twice Lord Mayor of London, born in Jamaica, where he was baptized on 19 Dec. 1709 [11]
  • Peter Beckford (1740-1811), English eminent sportsman and master of foxhounds, the son of Julines Beckford, of Stapleton, Dorset, grandson of Peter Beckford, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Jamaica [11]
  • Jason Beckford (b. 1970), English professional football player
  • Darren Beckford (b. 1967), English professional football player
  • James Arthur Beckford FBA (1942-2022), British sociologist of religion, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Warwick and a Fellow of the British Academy
  • Robert Beckford, British academic, theologian and filmmaker based at the University of Birmingham
  • James Beckford (b. 1975), Jamaican long jump athlete in the 1996 Olympics
  • James Beckford Wildman (1789-1867), English landowner and Tory politician

The Beckford Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: De Dieu Tout
Motto Translation: From God everything.

  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Oliver, George, Collections Illustrating the History of the Catholic Religion in the Counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, and Gloucester London: Charles Dolman, 61, New Bond Street, 1857. Print
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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)
  7. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th January 2022). Retrieved from
  9. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  11. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 14 June. 2019 on Facebook