Bellnap History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bellnap is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came 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 Bellnap family

The surname Bellnap 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 Bellnap family

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

Bellnap Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Bellnap are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Bellnap include: Belknap, Bellknap, Belknape, Belknappe, Bellknappe and many more.

Early Notables of the Bellnap family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Bellnap family

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Bellnap or a variant listed above: 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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