Show ContentsBeesley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestry of the name Beesley dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in Beesley, in the county of Lancashire. [1] The place name literally means 'woodland clearing' having derived from the Old English beos 'bent grass' + leah. [2]

However, one source claims the family came from Baslow, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Bakewell, hundred of High Peak in Derbyshire. [3]

Early Origins of the Beesley family

The surname Beesley was first found in Lancashire where Thomas de Besleg was listed in the Assize Rolls for 1246. [1]

While this is the generally accepted place of origin, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had no mention of the family there in later years, as these rolls listed Hugh filius Basilie, Nottinghamshire; Alan Basel, Cambridgeshire; Richard Baseli, Oxfordshire; John Basely, Cambridgeshire; and Michael Basely, Buckinghamshire. [3]

Early History of the Beesley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beesley research. Another 135 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1655, 1729, 1591, 1587, 1588 and 1591 are included under the topic Early Beesley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beesley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Beesley have been found, including Beazley, Beasley, Beasely, Beesely, Beesley, Bezley, Beasey and many more.

Early Notables of the Beesley family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: George Beesley or Bisley (d. 1591), English Catholic missioner, born at a place called the Mount, in Goosnargh parish, in Lancashire. "Ordained priest in 1587 he was sent upon the English mission in 1588. Falling into the hands of the persecutors he was so frequently tortured by the notorious Topcliffe...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Beesley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beesley Ranking

In the United States, the name Beesley is the 9,471st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Beesley family to Ireland

Some of the Beesley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Beesley migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Beesley, or a variant listed above:

Beesley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Beesley, who settled in Virginia in 1736
Beesley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Beesley, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1831 [5]

Australia Beesley migration to Australia +

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

Beesley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Beesley, British convict who was convicted in Worcester, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 29th September 1831, settling in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • William Beesley, aged 18, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Trafalgar" [7]
  • William Beesley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1849 [7]

New Zealand Beesley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Beesley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Beesley, (b. 1837), aged 26, Scottish domestic servant, from Lanarkshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Sebastopol" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st May 1863 [8]
  • Miss Maria Beesley, (b. 1843), aged 27, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd December 1870 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Beesley (post 1700) +

  • Ebenezer Beesley (1840-1906), American Latter-day Saint hymn writer and composer
  • Matthew Earl "Matt" Beesley, American film and television director
  • Bradley Beesley, American independent film and video director, producer and cinematographer
  • Thomas Beesley, American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Cape May County, 1865-67, 1869-70; Member of New Jersey State Senate from Cape May County, 1871-73 [9]
  • Jesse Cox Beesley, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Tennessee State House of Representatives, 1910-12; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Tennessee, 1924 [9]
  • Ernest J. Beesley, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Utah, 1944 [9]
  • Alfred Beesley (1800-1847), English topographer who was apprenticed to a watchmaker at Deddington, Oxfordshire [10]
  • Terence Beesley (1957-2017), English actor and writer, known for his roles in the EastEnders, The Phantom of the Opera, War & Peace
  • William Beesley (1895-1966), English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Michael "Mike" Beesley (b. 1942), English former professional footballer
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. George William Alfred Beesley, English Junior Assistant Purser from Waterloo, Lancashire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and died in the sinking [11]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Lawrence Beesley, aged 34, English Second Class passenger from London, England who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 13 [12]

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th January 2020). Retrieved from
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The TRAFALGAR 1849. Retrieved from
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from
  10. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 14 June. 2019
  11. Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from
  12. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook