Bek History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Bek is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bek 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 Bek family

The surname Bek 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 Bek family

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

Bek Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Beck, Becke, Bech, Beche and others.

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

Ireland Migration of the Bek family to Ireland

Some of the Bek 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 Bek migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Bek or a variant listed above:

Bek Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johannes Bek, who arrived in New York city in 1709
  • Anna Barbel Bek, aged 23, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 [6]
  • Anna Katrina Bek, aged 17, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1733 [6]
  • Anna Barbel Bek, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733
  • Anna Barbel Bek, who arrived in Pennsylvania at age 23 in 1733
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bek Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Matth Bek, who landed in America in 1807 [6]
  • G Bek, aged 20, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1847 [6]
  • Magdalene Bek, aged 16, who arrived in New York in 1854 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bek (post 1700) +

  • Antony Bek, English prelate

  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
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