Bevis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought many new words to England from which surnames were formed. Bevis was one of these new Norman names. It was specifically tailored to its first bearer, who was a friend, and is a somewhat nondescript form of affectionate address, somewhat like pal or mate in modern English. The name translates from the Old French root belfiz of the same meaning. The modern French meaning of the word as son in law was not in place until 1468.

Other sources claim that the name is a local surname from Beauvais in France. and there, we found that "Duke Richard II. in 1027, confirmed the gift of Ansgot de Belvai of land at Belvai to Fescamp Abbey. Fescamp (Fécamp) Abbey is a Benedictine abbey in Fécamp, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France. [1] [2] Founded in 658 by Waningus, a Merovingian count, the abbey still stands today.

As to agree with this postulation, another source weighs in on the debate by simply stating "The town of Beauvais, in France, is however a more likely source for the surname." [3] This author continues "Sir Bevys of medieval romance seems to have no place in veritable history, though Heylin claims him as a real Earl of Southampton. The first instance of the surname that I can call to mind is in Sir John Bevis, or Befs, who took Richard, brother of King Henry III., prisoner in a windmill at the battle of Lewes, in 1264. " [3]

Early Origins of the Bevis family

The surname Bevis was first found in Hampshire, where they were granted lands by King William after the Norman Conquest in 1066. They were descended from the Beauvais in Normandy, and appear on the honor roll of Battell Abbey, as accompanying Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Bevis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bevis research. Another 36 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1254, 1693, 1771, 1731, 1693, 1715 and 1718 are included under the topic Early Bevis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bevis Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Bevis, Bevys, Beavis, Beavys and others.

Early Notables of the Bevis family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Bevis of Hampshire; and John Bevis (1693-1771), an Welsh doctor and astronomer, best known for discovering the Crab Nebula in 1731. "Born 31 Oct. 1693...
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bevis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bevis Ranking

In the United States, the name Bevis is the 8,966th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]


United States Bevis migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Bevis or a variant listed above:

Bevis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Bevis, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Elizabeth Bevis, who arrived in Virginia in 1654 [5]
  • Benjamin Bevis who settled in Maryland in 1663
  • Robert Bevis, who arrived in Maryland in 1670 [5]
  • Benjamin Bevis, who landed in Maryland in 1675 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bevis Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jane Bevis, who landed in Virginia in 1718 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bevis (post 1700) +

  • Leslie Bevis (b. 1957), American actress
  • Arch Bevis (b. 1955), Australian politician, Federal Member for Brisbane (1990-), Shadow Minister for Homeland Security and Territories
  • Andrew Bevis, Australian actor
  • Bevis Hillier (b. 1940), English art historian, author and journalist
  • Bevis Longstreth (b. 1934), American Democratic Party politician, Member, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 1981-84 [6]

HMS Royal Oak
  • H. Bevis, British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [7]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Joseph Henry Bevis (d. 1912), aged 22, English Trimmer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [8]


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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)
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  8. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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