Besteard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Besteard family has descended through the lines of the ancient Normans that came to England following their Conquest of England in 1066. The Besteard name reveals that an early member was a child of illegitimate birth but such references are in jest.

Early Origins of the Besteard family

The surname Besteard was first found in Devon, where they are descended from "Robert Bastard, who held several manors in this county in the reign of William I. For several generations Efford, in the parish of Egg-Buckland, was the seat of this family. " [1]

"Robert Bastard appears in Domesday Book to have had large grants in the county of Devon, and thenceforward his descendants have remained seated in that shire, where they intermarried with the heiresses of Crispin and of Killiowe, in the county of Cornwall, and into the families of Fitz-Stephen, Besilles, Damarell, Gilbert, Reynell, Hele, and Bampfylde. Their seat, for many generations, was at Garston, near Kingsbridge, until, about the end of the seventeenth century, William Bastard, Esq., by marriage with the heiress of Pollexfen, acquired the estate of Kitley, which has since been the chief family residence. " [2]

"Kitley is now the chief seat of the ancient family of Bastard, which claim descent from the Robert Bastard who appears in ' Domesday' as the holder of nine manors. " [3]

"In Norman times illegitimacy was not regarded with the same contempt as now. The Conqueror himself, though illegitimate, not only succeeded to his father's duchy, but frankly avowed himself as a bastard in official writings." [4]

"The church [of West Alvington in Devon] contains some good screen-work in carved oak, and a beautiful monument to a member of the Bastard family, whose ancient seat has been converted into a farmhouse." [5]

"There is a curious local tradition attaching to a little corner of land some acre in extent at Splatt Cove, in Salcombe Harbour [Devon]. It belongs to the Bastard family, and the legend is that their Norman ancestor had command of one of the vessels of the Conqueror's fleet, which was driven by a gale into Salcombe, and that it was upon this very spot the leader and his men landed. The retention of the land by the Bastards is ascribed by the country folk to this historical connection. Mr. Karkeek, however, has shown not only that the legend has no pedigree, but that it is inconsistent with known facts. The name of Robert the Bastard does not occur in the Battle Abbey Roll, and though he is mentioned in 'Domesday,' neither of his Devonshire manors can be connected with Splatt Cove. " [3]

Early History of the Besteard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Besteard research. Another 338 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1201, 1273, 1273, 1379, 1566, 1700, 1721, 1779, 1784, 1816, 1832, 1565, 1618, 1598 and 1847 are included under the topic Early Besteard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Besteard Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Besteard has been recorded under many different variations, including Bastard, Basstard, Bostard, Bosstard, Baisterd, Bestard, Bastert, Basteder and many more.

Early Notables of the Besteard family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas Bastard (c. 1565-1618) an English clergyman famed for his published English language epigrams. He was born in Blandford Forum, Dorset, England and is best known for seven books of 285...
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Besteard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Besteard family

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Besteards were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: Henry Bastard, who sailed to Virginia in 1657. George Bastert journeyed to Philadelphia in 1806. In Canada David Basteder was among the United Empire Loyalists who settled there in the 1780s and John Pollexfen Bastard was living in Leeds County, Ontario in 1878..



The Besteard 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: Pax potior bello
Motto Translation: Peace preferable to war.


  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  4. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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