Belshaw History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought much change, including many immigrants with new names. Among these were the ancestors of the Belshaw family, whose name comes from the Old Norse word which means good friends. The name appears in the oldest of all English plays The Mystery Plays. "Lo, here is the Belshere broght ye had bring". [1] A parochial name from Bellecourt, near Perrone in Normandy, it is believed to have arrived in England with the Norman Conquest and the name appears on the Roll of the Battel Abbey as Bellesur. [2]

Early Origins of the Belshaw family

The surname Belshaw was first found in Yorkshire, where the Assize Rolls of 1219 list Thomas Belcher as holding lands at that time. [3] A few years later, Richard Belcchere was listed in Gloucestershire in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. The same rolls listed John Belsire in Kent. [1]

"Belcher has long been an Oxfordshire name. It was established in Enstone in the 16th and 17th centuries. William Belcher, yeoman, of Steeple Aston, presented his son, Thomas Belcher, to the incumbency of Westcot Barton in 1640. Samuel Belcher, apothecary, died at Deddington in 1668. " [4]

Early History of the Belshaw family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Belshaw research. Another 158 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1453, 1530, 1539, 1553, 1563, 1673, 1783, 1681, 1757, 1730, 1741, 1730, 1741, 1747, 1757, 1580 and 1621 are included under the topic Early Belshaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Belshaw Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Belcher, Belsher, Belleser, Bellcher, Bellsher, Beleser, Bellesur, Bellecourt, Belcourt and many more.

Early Notables of the Belshaw family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Jonathan Belcher (1681-1757), an American merchant, businessman, and politician, Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (1730-1741), Governor of the Province of...
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Belshaw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Belshaw family to Ireland

Some of the Belshaw family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Belshaw migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Belshaw or a variant listed above:

Belshaw Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Belshaw, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1808 [5]

New Zealand Belshaw 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:

Belshaw Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Esther Belshaw, aged 17, a machinist, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Countess of Kintore" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Belshaw (post 1700) +

  • George Phelps Mellick Belshaw, American cleric, the 9th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey from 1983 to 1994
  • Elliott Belshaw, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Indiana 1st District, 1940, 1952; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Indiana, 1956
  • Les Belshaw, English professional rugby league footballer active in the 1950s
  • William "Billy" Belshaw, English professional rugby league footballer active in the 1930s and 1940s, member of the England and Great Britain National Teams (1935-1937)
  • Cyril Shirley Belshaw (b. 1921), New Zealand anthropologist, and was professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) from 1953 to 1987
  • Horace Belshaw (1898-1962), English-born, New Zealand teacher, economist and university professor, awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal in 1935
  • Scott Belshaw (b. 1985), nicknamed "Ding Ding", Northern Irish professional heavyweight boxer


The Belshaw 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: Loyal au mort
Motto Translation: Faithful unto death.


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ 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)


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