Bellsham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Bellsham is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived 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 Bellsham family

The surname Bellsham 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 Bellsham family

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

Bellsham Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Bellsham has been spelled many different ways, including Belsham, Bellsham, Belshem, Belchamp, Bellchamp, Belesham and many more.

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


Canada Bellsham migration to Canada +

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Bellshams to arrive in North America:

Bellsham Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Jame Bellsham, who arrived in Ontario in 1871


  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)


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