Beckingham One-Name Study
The Beckingham Pedigrees:-
Wiltshire map c. 1773
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The Beckingham Name
The Origin of the Beckingham Name - a few thoughts of mine which I show below:-
1. "The surname of Beckingham
originally a locational name of Beckingham, a small village in
Lincolnshire (see "places"
page). Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and
indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or
village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or
more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification.
When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been
known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by
the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of
the land which he owned.
The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. The origins of badges and emblems are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest, the 11th century. At first Armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413 - 1422), a proclamation was issued prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'.
The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal Corporation of Heralds who record proven pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. It goes on to state that the Beckingham Arms are:- "Argent two bars gules on a canton of the second cinquefoil of the first". (There is apparently no crest or motto recorded).
I understand that Arms are registered for Berkshire and Essex.
2. Another version of the name origin again relates to BEOCCA (see above) but linked with the old English word HAM meaning field or stream thereby Beocca living by the stream or "Beckingham".3. "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," (A. D. Mills, Oxford University Press, 1991) has the name Beckingham is from the Old English Becca+inga+ham, or "homestead of the family or followers of Bassa". In 1177, the Lincolnshire village (above) is given as Bekingeham.
4. My own thoughts on the shortened spelling of BECKENHAM - there was a Zebulon BECKINGHAM born in Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire who moved to Croydon in Surrey, close to the town of Beckenham in Kent. My thought is that the locals in and around Croydon were so used to the local spelling and therefore all future references to the surname Beckingham were so corrupted. This theory is also strengthened by my having also now found that a John BECKINGHAM moved from Greenwich to Blendon in Kent and was immediately listed as BECKENHAM in the 1851 census.
5. According to E.3.2. of "Irish Pedigrees" manuscripts kept at Trinity College Library, Dublin, the BECKINGHAMS were amongst the principal families in Ireland towards the close of the 17th century. (This snippet of information was found on the internet, and I have not verified it).
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