Belfou History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Belfou family

The surname Belfou was first found in Norfolk and Suffolk. The name literally means "fair faith" and claims descent from "a locality now called Beau-Fai, in the arrondissement of Mortagne, in Normandy. Ralph de Bella Faago, or Beaufoy, accompanied the Conqueror, and became a tenant in chief in Norfolk and Suffolk. He was a near relative of William be Beaufoe, the Conqueror's chancellor and chaplain." [1]

Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Swanton Moreley, where Robert de Belfou was Lord of that manor and held many other lordships in that county.

More records of the family were found in St. Ives, Cornwall and these records point to another early branch of the family. "The manor and barton of Trenwith, was held by the Earl of Cornwall shortly after the Conquest. In the days of John of Gaunt it became the property of his son John de Beauford; and in this family it remained till the attainder of Edmund Beauford, Earl of Somerset, in 1471." [2]

John Beaufort, 1st Marquess of Somerset and 1st Marquess of Dorset, KG (c. 1373-1410) was the first of the four children of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress Katherine Swynford. He was the progenitor of what would later be known as the House of Beaufort, a line of wealthy and powerful English nobles.

Early History of the Belfou family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Belfou research. Another 66 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1377, 1447, 1403, 1444, 1406, 1455, 1431 and 1501 are included under the topic Early Belfou History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Belfou 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 Beaufoy, Beauford, Beauford, Beaufort, Beauforest, Beauforth, Bewfort, Bewford, Bufoy, Ballafay, Belfou, Beaufow and many more.

Early Notables of the Belfou family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Beaufort (1377-1447), English prelate, Bishop of Winchester and Cardinal, second and illegitimate son of John of Gaunt by Catherine; John Beaufort (1403-1444), first Duke of Somerset, military commander, the son of John Beaufort, eldest son of John of Gaunt; Edmund Beaufort, (1406-1455), 2nd Duke of Somerset, an English nobleman and an important figure in the Wars of the...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Belfou Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Belfou family

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 Belfou or a variant listed above: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..



  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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