Belknape History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Belknape family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Belknape comes from when the family lived in Sussex, at "Knelle, in the parish of Beckley, and Sir Hamon is mentioned among the captains in the retinue of the Duke of Bedford at Agincourt. He was the son of Sir Robert Belknap, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in the time of Edward III., and one of the Judges called before the King at Nottingham." [1]

Early Origins of the Belknape family

The surname Belknape was first found in Warwickshire at Weston, where Edward Belknap held lands up to the 16th century. [1]

According to Duchesne, in his publication "List of Conquerors of England," Belknape was one of the companions to William the Conqueror and is listed on the Roll of Battle Abbey. [2]

However, little else is known of the family in earlier times. The next earliest record of the family was found in the hamlet of Griff in Warwickshire as a birth record of Sir John Belknap (1309-1367.) He was father of Sir Robert Belknap (1339-1399) who was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in England. [3] His son was Hamon Belknap (1394-1429), also known variously as Bealknap and Beltoft. One of his sons was Henry Belknap, Lord of Oston (1435-1488.)

"There had been a Kentish branch of the Belknaps, seated at the Moat, near Canterbury; of whom Philip was Sheriff of Kent in 1456, and Mayor of Canterbury in 1458. His only child, Alice, married Henry Finch of Netherfield; and the Moat afterwards became the residence of her descendant, John, Lord Finch of Fordwich, the Lord Keeper by whom (according to Clarendon) the 'errors and mischiefs of the Star Chamber were introduced in the time of Charles I.' "

"The manor of Belknap in Wiltshire must owe its name to this family, though I can find no record of its having been in their possession. That of Belknap in Essex was, according to Morant, 'probably acquired by marriage into the family of Somery.'" [1]

Early History of the Belknape family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Belknape research. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1374, 1388, 1428, 1420, 1404, 1471 and 1521 are included under the topic Early Belknape History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Belknape Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Belknape has appeared include Belknap, Bellknap, Belknape, Belknappe, Bellknappe and many more.

Early Notables of the Belknape family (pre 1700)

Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Belknape Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Belknape family

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Belknape arrived in North America very early: Thomas Belknap who settled in Lynn Massachusetts in 1620; Abraham Belknap, the scion of the family from Warwickshire, also settled in Lynn in 1637. They became one of America's distinguished families..



  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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