Bessly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bessly reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Bessly family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest in 1066. Bessly is a name for a person involved in the measuring and trading of corn. The name springs from the Old English root bushel, which is a measure of volume which is still in use today. [1]

Another derivation of the name suggests that it stems from the Norman French root bichelle, which means hind or deer. Which derivation is applicable depends on the geographic roots of the particular family group in question.

Alternatively the name could have originated at Bossall, a parish, partly in the wapentake of Birdforth, but chiefly in that of Bulmer, North Riding of Yorkshire. "The village was formerly large, but at present consists of only three or four houses: foundations of buildings have been discovered in an adjoining field, thence called 'Old Bossall.' "[2]

There is good reason to believe the family originated in Devon. [3] Here the chapelry, and formerly a market-town of Newton-Bushell is found in the hundred of Teignbridge. "This place received its distinguishing appellation from Robert Bussell or Bushell, foster-child and kinsman of Theobald de English Ville; he was made lord of the manor by Henry III., in 1246, and granted to the inhabitants a charter for a market." [2]

Early Origins of the Bessly family

The surname Bessly was first found in Somerset where Roger Buissel was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. [4] Years later, Alan Buscel was a Yeoman of Cheshire c. 1140 and Richard Bussell was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1200. The Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1243 included Richard Buschel. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Geoffrey Buscel, Norfolk; Reginald Buscel, Norfolk; William Bushel, Huntingdonshire; and John Bussel, Cambridgeshire. [5]

Another source notes that "Stephan Bussel man (i.e. the servant of Bussel)" was registered in Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III) as was Robert Busshel. [6]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379 includes: Margareta Bosell; Johannes Bussell; Laurencius Bossell; and Johanna Bossell. [5]

Early History of the Bessly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bessly research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1793 and 1807 are included under the topic Early Bessly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bessly Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Bissell, Bichell and others.

Early Notables of the Bessly family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Bessly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bessly family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Bessly or a variant listed above: John Bissell who arrived in west New Jersey in 1664; Thomas Bissell who settled in Virginia in 1663; Thomas Bissell arrived in Philadelphia in 1774; Charles Bissell arrived in New York City in 1822..



  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.


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