Becklay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Becklay name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived in Sussex and Buckinghamshire. [1] The Becklay surname is a habitational name derived from any of various places named Beckley, such as those in Kent, Oxfordshire, and Sussex. The place name Beckley comes from the Old English name becca with the Old English word leah, meaning a clearing in the forest. [2]

Early Origins of the Becklay family

The surname Becklay was first found in Suffolk where Ralph de Beckele was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls for 1211. Later, Richard de Beckele was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1327 and later again, John Beklay was listed as a Freeman of York in 1446. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had two listings for the family: Thomas de Beckelegh, Oxfordshire; and Henry de Beckcle, Oxfordshire. [4]

Early History of the Becklay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Becklay research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1661, 1622, 1689, 1753, 1438 and 1291 are included under the topic Early Becklay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Becklay Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Becklay were recorded, including Beckley, Beckly, Bistley, Bickley and others.

Early Notables of the Becklay family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Beckley (died 1438), an English Carmelite, born in Kent, probably in the neighbourhood of Sandwich, where he appears to have entered the order of the Carmelites in early life. While still young he proceeded to Cambridge, where the Carmelites had a house since the year 1291. Here he seems to have taken his doctor's degree in divinity, and to have established a considerable reputation as a theologian. Bale...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Becklay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Becklay family

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Becklay family emigrate to North America: Richard Beckley who arrived in Boston Massachusetts in 1637; Sarah Bickley settled in Maryland in 1740; Richard Bickley settled in Virginia in 1624.



  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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