Bewis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bewis is generally thought to be a patronymic name created from the given name Hugh. Using the Welsh prefix ap or ab, the surname was Ab Hugh, which became Bugh, then Bew. Alternately, some instances of the name in Britain may have come with the Normans, perhaps deriving from the place name Bayeux in Calvados; and, it appears that the Scottish, or Northern English instances of the name may have Scandinavian roots.

Early Origins of the Bewis family

The surname Bewis was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat from early times. Early recorded instances of the name include Robert le Beu, who was listed in the Assize Rolls of County Somerset in 1200. Bew Castle, a ruined 12th century castle near the village of Bewcastle, Cumbria, adds credence to the suggestion that there may have been a Scandinavian source for this name in the North.

Another branch claim descent from Normandy where "Ranulph de Bayeux was one of the Proceres of Normandy, 1050, in rebellion against Duke William. His descendants were great barons in Lincoln. The name continued long as Bayouse, Beyouse, and at last Bews." [1]

Ranulph de Bayeux, who temp. Henry I. had great possessions in Lincolnshire "whereof five Knight's Fees were held of him by Peter de Gosla (alias Gousel) who, towards the latter end of that King's Reign founded the first Abbey of the Praemonstratensian Order in this Realm, called Newhus." Both he and his son Hugh were benefactors of this Abbey. The latter died in the early part of Richard Coeur de Lion's reign. [2]

Early History of the Bewis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bewis research. Another 57 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1640, 1249, 1218, 1224, 1225, 1234 and 1249 are included under the topic Early Bewis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bewis Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and 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 of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Bewes, Bew, Bewe, Bews, Bewis and others.

Early Notables of the Bewis family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John de Bayeux (d. 1249), Justice Itinerant, otherwise called de Baiocis, a son of Hugh de Baiocis, a Lincolnshire Baron. ". He had property in Bristol and Dorset, but in 16 and 17 John forfeited it on outlawry for murder. In 1218 he paid a relief of 100l. and took possession of the family estates in Lincolnshire, and in the same year was judge itinerant for the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, and Dorset, along with ‘J. Bathon. et Glascon. Episc.’ (Dugdale, Orig. Juridic. (Chronica Series), p. 7). Next year, 4 Henry III...
Another 105 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bewis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

New Zealand Bewis 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:

Bewis Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Bewis, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1858 [3]

  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. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook
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