Belchens History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Belchens family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found in the parish of Belchamp in the county of Essex having derived from the Old English elements bel, which means fair, and champ, which means field. [1]

Early Origins of the Belchens family

The surname Belchens was first found in Essex, where Belchamp-Otton "derives the adjunct to its name from an ancient possessor called Otton, or Otho, who held it in the reign of Henry II., and whose descendant, Otho Fitz-William, was sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire for several successive years. " [2]

Belchamp St. Paul's and Belchamp-Walter are also parishes in Essex. In Saxon times, they were collectively known as Bylcham c. 940. They was also two listing for the parishes in the Domesday Book of 1086: Belcham and Belcamp. [3]

Early History of the Belchens family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Belchens research. Another 297 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1273, 1500, 1661, 1750, 1508, 1537, 1537 and 1583 are included under the topic Early Belchens History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Belchens Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Belchens include Belsham, Bellsham, Belshem, Belchamp, Bellchamp, Belesham and many more.

Early Notables of the Belchens family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Thomas Belchiam (1508-1537), a Franciscan friar of the convent at Greenwich, who was imprisoned, with others of his brethren, for refusing to take the oath of the royal supremacy, and declaring the king (Henry VIII) to be a heretic. "He died in Newgate of starvation on 3 Aug. 1537. A copy of his...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Belchens Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Belchens family

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled 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 ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Belchens or a variant listed above: John Belchem, who came to Barbados in 1679; John Belcham, who came to Barbados in 1679; Jame Bellsham, who arrived in Ontario in 1871; and P. S. Belcham, who settled in St. John, N.B. in 1907..



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)


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