Show ContentsBellew History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Bellew is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bellew family lived in Yorkshire. The name, however, refers to the region of Belleau or Bella Aqua in France, both of which translate as good water or clear water. 1

The name also stretched north into Scotland where "Gilbert de Beleawe witnessed gift of the 'eschalingas i Lambremore' to the church of Kelso by William de Vyerpunt c. 1160. 2

Early Origins of the Bellew family

The surname Bellew was first found in Yorkshire, where the name is "probably of Norman origin, meaning bel-eau, in Latin, Bella-aqua, the fair water; the designation of some locality. John be Bellew was a Baron of Parliament temp. Edward I." 3

The family claim that the founder of the Bellews was a marshal in the army of the Conqueror. Some of the eighteen knights who were in direct succession settled in Ireland at Bellewstown, in the county of Meath and in Louth in the 13th century. 4

Another source claims the name "is an old, though now a rare, Devonshire name." 5 This source also notes that the family had been lords of the manor of Stockleigh-English for more than 150 years.

Early History of the Bellew family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bellew research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1575, 1585, 1720, 1798, 1805, 1848 and 1866 are included under the topic Early Bellew History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bellew Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Bellew, Belew, Below, Bella and others.

Early Notables of the Bellew family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Richard Bellew (fl. 1585), English legal reporter, "published in 1585 an abridgment of the reports of Statham Fitzherbert and Brooke, described by Dugdale as ‘the Year-book of Richard II,’ being even...

Bellew Ranking

In the United States, the name Bellew is the 15,921st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 6

Ireland Migration of the Bellew family to Ireland

Some of the Bellew family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bellew migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Bellew or a variant listed above were:

Bellew Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mathurin Bellew, who arrived in Providence, Rhode Island in 1645 7
  • Maturin Bellew, who landed in Providence, Rhode Island in 1645 7
  • William Bellew, who landed in Virginia in 1666 7
Bellew Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Bellew who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Thomas Bellew, who arrived in New York in 1833 7
  • Mrs. Bellew, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 7
  • J. H. Bellew settled in San Francisco, California in 1852
  • Charles, James, John, Michael and Patrick Bellew all, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1844 and 1860

Australia Bellew migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Bellew Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Patrick Bellew, (b. 1801), aged 26, Irish farm labourer who was convicted in Westmeath, Ireland for life for manslaughter, transported aboard the "Cambridge" on 2nd June 1827, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 8

Contemporary Notables of the name Bellew (post 1700) +

  • Frank Henry Temple Bellew (1828-1888), India-born, American artist, illustrator, and cartoonist
  • Wallace W. Bellew, American Republican politician, Member of Ohio State Senate 1st District, 1919-22
  • John Chippendall Montesquieu Bellew (1823-1874), English author, preacher, and public reader, born at Lancaster 3 Aug. 1823 9
  • Anthony "Tony" Bellew (b. 1982), English professional boxer and actor
  • Sir George Bellew (1899-1993), English genealogist and armorist, appointed to the office of Garter Principal King of Arms, the highest heraldic office in England and Wales
  • Thomas Bellew (1943-1995), Irish politician
  • Captain Edward Donald Bellew (1882-1961), India-born, Canadian Captain of the 7th Battalion British Columbia Regiment and recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Second Battle of Ypres on 24 April, 1915 10
  • Bryan Edward Bellew (b. 1943), 8th Baron Bellew, Irish peer
  • James Bryan Bellew (1920-2010), 7th Baron Bellew, Irish peer
  • Edward Henry Bellew (1889-1975), 5th Baron Bellew, Irish peer
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Bellew Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Tout d'en haut
Motto Translation: All from above.

  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  5. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 2nd December 2020). Retrieved from
  9. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 14 June. 2019
  10. Edward Bellew. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Edward Bellew. Retrieved from on Facebook