Bellesham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Bellesham date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence 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 Bellesham family

The surname Bellesham 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 Bellesham family

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

Bellesham Spelling Variations

Bellesham has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Bellesham have been found, including Belsham, Bellsham, Belshem, Belchamp, Bellchamp, Belesham and many more.

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

Migration of the Bellesham family

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Belleshams to arrive on North American shores: 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)


Houseofnames.com on Facebook