Bellknape History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Bellknape name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It 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 Bellknape family

The surname Bellknape 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 Bellknape family

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

Bellknape Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Bellknape were recorded, including Belknap, Bellknap, Belknape, Belknappe, Bellknappe and many more.

Early Notables of the Bellknape family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Bellknape family

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Bellknape family emigrate to North America: 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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