Show ContentsBeckley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Beckley comes from when the family resided in Sussex and Buckinghamshire. [1] The Beckley 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 Beckley family

The surname Beckley 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 Beckley family

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

Beckley 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 Beckley include Beckley, Beckly, Bistley, Bickley and others.

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

Beckley Ranking

In the United States, the name Beckley is the 6,825th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [5]

United States Beckley 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:

Beckley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Beckley, who landed in Maryland in 1636 [6]
  • Richard Beckley, (Beach), from Hampshire who arrived in Boston Massachusetts in 1637 aboard the ship "Hector", bound for Wethersfield
  • William Beckley, who landed in Maryland in 1677 [6]
  • John Beckley, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682 [6]
Beckley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Christian Beckley, aged 23, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1741 [6]

Australia Beckley migration to Australia +

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

Beckley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ann Beckley, (b. 1810), aged 20, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Earl of Liverpool" in December 1830, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1856 [7]
  • Mr. Henry Beckley, English convict who was convicted in Lewes, Sussex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Eden" on 30th September 1848, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [8]
  • John Beckley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke of Bedford" in 1848 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Beckley (post 1700) +

  • Tim Beckley, American actor and director, known for his work on Sandy Hook Lingerie Party Massacre (2000), Barely Legal Lesbian Vampires: The Curse of Ed Wood! (2003) and Punk Rock Zombie Kung Fu Catfight (2004)
  • Alexis Beckley, American actress, known for her work on Emily (2012), The Time Traveler's Wife (2009) and Sketch (2007)
  • Robert Benjamin "Rob" Beckley (b. 1975), American lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the Christian rock band Pillar
  • John James Beckley (1757-1807), American political campaign manager and the first Librarian of the United States Congress, from 1802 to 1807
  • Bill Beckley (b. 1946), American narrative/conceptual artist
  • Jacob Peter Beckley (1867-1918), nicknamed "Eagle Eye," an American Major League Baseball player who played from 1888 to 1907, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971
  • Gerry Beckley (b. 1952), American musician and songwriter, a founding member of the rock band, known as America
  • Luther Beckley, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Berlin, 1820, 1822, 1827-28 [10]
  • Edgar W. Beckley, American politician, Member of Connecticut Prohibition Party State Central Committee, 1922-27 [10]
  • D. A. Beckley, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1888 [10]
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  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)
  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2021). Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th November 2021). Retrieved from
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DUKE OF BEDFORD 1848. Retrieved from
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 14) . Retrieved from on Facebook