Show ContentsBelsham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Belsham is an old Anglo-Saxon name. It comes from when a family 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 Belsham family

The surname Belsham 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 Belsham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Belsham research. Another 297 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1273, 1500, 1508, 1537, 1583, 1661 and 1750 are included under the topic Early Belsham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Belsham 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 Belsham were recorded, including Belsham, Bellsham, Belshem, Belchamp, Bellchamp, Belesham and many more.

Early Notables of the Belsham family

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 Belsham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Australia Belsham migration to Australia +

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

Belsham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Belsham, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Elphinstone" on 27th May 1837, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [4]
  • Abraham Belsham, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John" in 1840 [5]
  • Mary Belsham, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John" in 1840 [5]

New Zealand Belsham migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Belsham Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Frank Belsham, aged 20, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Belsham (post 1700) +

  • William Belsham (1752-1827), English political writer and historian who supported the American Revolution in excusing Americans in their resistance to the demands of England, brother of Thomas Belsham
  • Thomas Belsham (1750-1829), English Unitarian minister and religious writer, born at Bedford, 26 April 1750, being a son of the Rev. James Belsham, dissenting minister there [6]
  • Victor "Vic" Colin Belsham (1925-2006), New Zealand rugby league player and referee at the 1957 World Cup, brother of Selwyn Eric Belsham
  • Selwyn Eric "Sel" Belsham (b. 1930), New Zealand rugby league player, member of the New Zealand National Team at the 1957 World Cup
  • Denise D Belsham, Canadian cancer researcher in the Division of Cellular & Molecular Biology at the Toronto General Research Institute

HMS Hood
  • Mr. James R Belsham (b. 1903), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [7]

  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)
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 18th March 2022). Retrieved from
  5. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOHN from London 1840. Retrieved from
  6. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 14 June. 2019
  7. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from on Facebook