Bellemay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Bellemay is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bellemay family lived in Shropshire. The name could also be derived as a nickname meaning my good friend Literally, the name is derived from the Norman-French word belamy, "fair friend," which was used much in the depreciatory way in which we now employ "good fellow." 
Alternatively the name could have originated in Bellesme, a town of France.  So as proof of this latter origin, we note Ralf Belami in the Norman Exchequer Rolls of 1189. 
Early Origins of the Bellemay family
The surname Bellemay was first found in Shropshire, where Robert de Belesme was given Shropshire Castle to hold for King William. Fifty years later he rebelled against Duke William's successor, and successfully defended Shropshire Castle against King Stephen.
Also known as Robert of Belleme, the Earl of Shrewsbury, sometimes called Talvas, was the eldest son of Roger, Lord of Montgomery in Normandy, of Arundel and Chichester. "He was knighted by the Conqueror before the walls of Fresnay in 1073. In the revolt of Robert, the king's eldest son, in 1077, he and many other young Norman nobles upheld his cause against the king. As long as the Conqueror lived he and other Norman lords were compelled to receive garrisons from into their castles. This disabled them from disturbing the peace of the duchy. Robert in 1087 was on his way to visit the king, and had gone as far as Brionne when he heard of the Conqueror's death. He at once turned back, and turned the ducal garrisons out of his castles. " 
"Bellamy is a name that has long been established in Nottinghamshire. It occurred in the adjacent county of Cambridge in the reign of Edward I. , and is at present to be found in Huntingdonshire. " 
A well known name is early years, Chaucer noted in his famous Canterbury Tales 'Belamy, fayre frynde' (Belamy, fair friend.)
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had two early listings of the family with different spellings: Hugh Belami, Cambridgeshire; and Roger Belamy, Oxfordshire. 
Kirby's Quest listed "John Belamy, Somerset, 1 Edward III" (during the first year's reign of King Edward III. 
"Other scattered notices of the name are forthcoming. In the Hundred Rolls of Edward I. we find Gilbert and Roger Belamy in Oxfordshire, Matilda Belamy in Dorsetshire, and Hugh and John Belami in Kent. John and Peter Belami were of Edenbridge, in the latter county, in 1317: and the family reappears in Dorset during the last century, when Edward Bellamy of Rampisham, a wealthy wool-stapler, bought Beuvill in Corscombe, and owned Evershot, Cheddington." 
Early History of the Bellemay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bellemay research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1603, 1634, 1698, 1689, 1717, 1717, 1717, 1720, 1687, 1687 and 1788 are included under the topic Early Bellemay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bellemay 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 Bellamy, Belamy, Bellamie, Belamie, Bellamey, Bellame, Bellasme, Bellamly and many more.
Early Notables of the Bellemay family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy (c.1689-1717), sometimes known as the "Prince of Pirates," an English pirate from Devon who operated in the early 18th century. He and his crew captured at least 53 ships under his command making him the wealthiest pirate in recorded history and all this before his death at age 28. According to Forbes, he was the highest earning pirate who had a wealth of over 120 million in today's dollars. He and his crew aboard the Whydah, got caught in a storm on the back side of Cape Cod, taking...
Another 125 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bellemay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bellemay 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 Bellemay or a variant listed above: Matthew Bellamy, Schoolmaster, who settled in New Haven in 1638; Edward Bellamy settled in Barbados in 1685. In Newfoundland, Henry Bellamy settled in St. John's in 1819.
Related Stories +
- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
- ^ 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
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.