Bewforte History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Bewforte family

The surname Bewforte was first found in Norfolk and Suffolk. The name literally means "fair faith" and claims descent from "a locality now called Beau-Fai, in the arrondissement of Mortagne, in Normandy. Ralph de Bella Faago, or Beaufoy, accompanied the Conqueror, and became a tenant in chief in Norfolk and Suffolk. He was a near relative of William be Beaufoe, the Conqueror's chancellor and chaplain." [1]

Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Swanton Moreley, where Robert de Belfou was Lord of that manor and held many other lordships in that county.

More records of the family were found in St. Ives, Cornwall and these records point to another early branch of the family. "The manor and barton of Trenwith, was held by the Earl of Cornwall shortly after the Conquest. In the days of John of Gaunt it became the property of his son John de Beauford; and in this family it remained till the attainder of Edmund Beauford, Earl of Somerset, in 1471." [2]

John Beaufort, 1st Marquess of Somerset and 1st Marquess of Dorset, KG (c. 1373-1410) was the first of the four children of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress Katherine Swynford. He was the progenitor of what would later be known as the House of Beaufort, a line of wealthy and powerful English nobles.

Early History of the Bewforte family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bewforte research. Another 66 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1377, 1447, 1403, 1444, 1406, 1455, 1431 and 1501 are included under the topic Early Bewforte History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bewforte 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 Beaufoy, Beauford, Beauford, Beaufort, Beauforest, Beauforth, Bewfort, Bewford, Bufoy, Ballafay, Belfou, Beaufow and many more.

Early Notables of the Bewforte family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Beaufort (1377-1447), English prelate, Bishop of Winchester and Cardinal, second and illegitimate son of John of Gaunt by Catherine; John Beaufort (1403-1444), first Duke of Somerset, military commander, the son of John Beaufort, eldest son of John of Gaunt; Edmund Beaufort, (1406-1455), 2nd Duke of Somerset, an English nobleman and an important figure in the Wars of the...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bewforte Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bewforte family

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 Bewforte or a variant listed above: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..



  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. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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