Beke History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. The Beke history starts with such a migration. As the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames refers either directly or indirectly to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, physical appearance, habits, or character, among other attributes. Flemish names of this type frequently feature the prefixes lile, which meant the. The surname Beke is a nickname for a person with a prominent nose. Looking back further, we find the name Beke was originally from the Old English word beke or the Old French word bec, each of which referred to the beak of a bird. Since the 11th century in England was a time of the mingling of may languages it is often difficult to tell which particular linguistic root is appropriate to a name in a given case.
Early Origins of the Beke family
The surname Beke was first found in Dorset and Kent where they held a family seat from early times, and was one of the earliest of all Flemish settlers. The earliest recorded settler was Goisfred de Beche, whose original Flemish name was Van der Beke, and in east Kent the family acquired the estate of Livingsbourne, where they changed the name of the town to Beakesbourn.
"The lordship of Eresby, in Lincolnshire, was settled by William the Conqueror, with other manors, upon Walter de Bec, one of the most distinguished knights at Hastings. By Agnes, his wife, daughter and heiress of Hugh Dapifer, Walter left, with other issue, a son, Henry Beke, of Eresby, great great grandfather of Walter Beke, whose three sons were John, Lord Beke, of Eresby; Anthony, Bishop of Durham, Patriarch of Jerusalem; and Thomas, Bishop of St. David's. Of these, the eldest, John, Lord Beke, died in 1302, leaving one son, Walter, who had no issue, and two daughters - Alice, married to Sir William de Willoughby, Knt., ancestor, by her, of the present Lord Willoughby de Eresby; and Margaret, married to Sir Richard de Harcourt, progenitor of the Earls of Harcourt. Anthony Beke, the famous Bishop of Durham, was one of the most illustrious men in history. Amongst his other works, he founded the collegiate churches of Chester and Lancester, as well as the chapel at Bishop Auckland, all in the country palatine of Durham." 
Early History of the Beke family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beke research. Another 48 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1630, 1707, 1656, 1659, 1689, 1690, 1695, 1698, 1708, 1654 and 1659 are included under the topic Early Beke History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Beke Spelling Variations
Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Beake, Beak, Beaks, Beek, Beke, Beaker, Beakley and others.
Early Notables of the Beke family (pre 1700)
Prominent in the family at this time was Baron Beeke of Eresby in Kent; Richard Beke (1630-1707), of Westminster and Ford, Dinton, Buckinghamshire, an English politician, Member of Parliament for Elgin and Nairn in...
Migration of the Beke family to Ireland
Some of the Beke 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.
Migration of the Beke family
Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Beke, or a variant listed above: George William Beake who settled in Virginia in 1732; George Beaker settled in Virginia in 1663; John Beak settled in Annapolis in 1758; Magdalen Beakley settled in New England in 1745..