Belesman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The present generation of the Belesman family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived 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 Belesman family

The surname Belesman 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 Belesman family

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

Belesman Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Belesman include Belsham, Bellsham, Belshem, Belchamp, Bellchamp, Belesham and many more.

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

Migration of the Belesman family

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Belesman were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: 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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