Malebysse to Beckwith- 25 Generations

Sir Hugh de Malebisse (Malbisse, Malebysse, Malbis), one of the Norman knights who accompanied the Conqueror to England and served in the Battle of Hastings, is my 25th great grandfather. That’s right, 25th!  

“Sir Hugh de Malbisse, held lands (in Yorkshire), time of William the Conqueror” is all that the Domesday Book says about him.  (The Domesday Book or “Book of Winchester” is a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror.)  Since he was a Norman, he must have had a fair complexion and a tall height to him. When he fought in Hastings, he wore “a leather coat of tough bull hide.” According to the book “The Beckwiths” by Paul Beckwith, the leather coat would have had metal rings sown upon it, just touching each other. The coat and breeches would have been one piece with a casque of metal at the breast gilded and painted. He would have had gloves of leather and sheepskin covering his legs. He must have been a formidable figure in 1066 A.D. 

He married Emma de Percy, daughter of Henry de Percy of Acaster.  (There is a lot of confusing information found in different books on who this Emma married.  Some say she married Hugh’s son, Richard. Others say she married a William.) I am more inclined to believe the original writers of history such as the Madox, Hist. of Exchequer, i. 316, which states that the first Hugh was married to the daughter of Henry de Percy.  

Madox was a legal antiquary and historian, known for his publication and discussion of medieval records and charters; and in particular, for his History of the Exchequer, tracing the administration and records of that branch of the state from the Norman Conquest to the time of Edward II. It became a standard work for the study of English medieval history. He held the office of historiographer royal from 1708 until his death.

Hugh had three sons. Richard, Hugh (2), and Galfred.  This Hugh (2) is our direct line. He married first, Emma de Bray.  I am not finding much on this Hugh. His brother, Richard, seems to take up a lot of the glory, or in this case, scandal.  More on him later. Hugh’s (2) will was proven in the third year of the reign of King Stephen, 1138. Galfred gave all his land over to God and became the first Prior at the monastery of Newbo of Lincolnshire in 1142.

By the way, Richard, whom I mentioned before, was an interesting, cruel fellow.  He was a justiciar, he held Acaster in 1176, and was forester for Yorkshire (Madox, i. 316).  But, then things changed for dear ‘ole Richard.  

He was one of the leaders in the savage attack on and massacre of the Jews at York in 1190 (Will. Newburgh, i. 321, Rolls Ser.) As a punishment for his share in this outrage his lands were seized by the king. Malebysse appears to have been a supporter of Earl John, and in consequence he was one of those who were excommunicated by William de Longchamp in December 1191 (Hoveden, iii. 153). In 1193 he paid a fine of twenty marks for the recovery of his lands till the king’s return, and eventually paid six hundred marks for full restoration (Madox, Hist. of Exchequer, i. 473, 483).  Richard Malebysse

Evidently he owed many debts to “the Jews” and was known as “the Evil Beast’.  On hearing the news of the southern outbreaks, he and various members of the Percy, Faulconbridge, and Darrel families determined to seize the opportunity to wipe out their indebtedness.  One hundred and fifty Jews were killed.  The entire Jewish community was wiped out!  More can be read in the Jewsih Encyclopedia.

However, after about ten years, Richard is back.  

After the accession of John, Malebysse comes into some prominence. In June 1199 he, or it may be his brother Hugh, was sent as an envoy to Scotland to William the Lion to demand homage. In July 1200 he had license to fortify Wheldrake Castle, but the permission was withdrawn at the request of the citizens of York. In May 1201 he was sent on a mission to the king of Scots to ask him to defer his answer as to Northumberland till Michaelmas (Hoveden, iv. 91, 117, 163–4). Malebysse was a justice itinerant for Yorkshire in 1201, and next year sat to acknowledge fines at Westminster. In 1204 he was employed in enforcing the payment of aids. He was keeper of the forests of Galtres, Derwent, and Wernedale. He died in 1209.

Obviously, we must take the bad with the good in our family history. 

Back to my direct line.  Hugh (2) and Emma had Simon.  He was lord of Cowton in Craven, England, and married a daughter of John, Lord of Methley.  I do not know much about Simon either. More research needs to be done.  

Simon had Hercules de Malebysse.  Hercules married Lady Beckwith Bruce, daughter of Sir William Bruce, of Uglebarnby, and heiress of an estate named Beckwith. He retained the Malbisse escutcheon (his coat of arms), and assumed as a surname, during the period when surnames were being adopted in England, the name of his wife’s estate, Beckwith.  And, so the Beckwith surname was passed down. At this time they still use “de Beckwith”. Lady Beckwith and Hercules had Nicolas de Beckwith born in 1260. He married a woman by the last name of Chaworth, but nothing more is known.  

Nicolas and his wife had Hamon in 1294.  Hamon married a daughter of Sir Philip Sydney. He was the first of the family to drop the use of the particle “de” in the surname.  Hamon and Anne had William in 1316. William and “unknown” Usfleet had Thomas. Thomas and “unknown” Sawley had Adam. He married (second) Elizabeth Malebisse, widow of John Heringe. His children were all by his first wife, name unknown.  His first wife and he had William. William married a daughter of Sir John Baskerville, a descendant of English and French ancestry, who traced his lineage to the Emperor Charlemagne (don’t we all).

I’ll run through our line in this paragraph as I know the names, I just haven’t done a lot of research on them.  William and his wife had Thomas who died in 1495. Thomas had Robert who had John who had Robert who had Robert. This Robert made his will, October 6, 1536, and died before March following.  Robert had Marmaduke Beckwith in 1567.

In 1597 he sold Clint and purchased Fetherstone and Aikton (or Acton).   Among his numerous children were: William Beckwith, was the founder of the Virginia line of Beckwiths, who landed in America in 1607. He sailed from England in the ship “Phoenix,” and arrived in company with Captain John Smith, at Jamestown, Va. (I’ll be doing more research on this little gem!)

This immigrant ancestor and progenitor of the Beckwith’s of New England and those branches of the family which are offshoots of the New England lines was born in England about the year 1610. The history of his life to the time of his coming to America is somewhat obscure. 

He is found early at Hartford, Conn. Here he bought the homestead of William Pratt, one of the original proprietors of Hartford, in 1645. About 1652 he was at New London, and Lyme, in the same colony, his land lying in both towns. It is judged from the size of his real estate holdings that he was a man of considerable wealth.

He was able to give land to his sons liberally, and it is recorded that in 1675 thirty acres of additional land were granted to him, all of which he gave to his son, Joseph Beckwith. 

Matthew Beckwith occupied a prominent place in the community and was one of its most prominent citizens. He was killed on October 21, 1680, “by a fall in a dark night down a ledge of rocks.”

There are many books about the Malebisse family.  You can research yourself at Google Books.  

Sources:

(WordPress will not let me cite them properly without upgrading to the Business Plan!)

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/domesday/

“The Beckwiths”: Beckwith, Paul (Paul Edmond), 1848-1907 ….” 3 Jun. 2009, https://archive.org/details/thebeckwiths00beck.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Madox

“Justiciar – Wikipedia.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justiciar

“Malebysse, Richard (DNB00) – Wikisource, the free online library.” 30 Jun. 2016, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Malebysse,_Richard_(DNB00)

http://www.svsu.edu/library/archives/public/follett/documents/152_168/KFP152_08.pdf

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/15122-york

 “Malebysse, Richard (DNB00) – Wikisource, the free online library.” 30 Jun. 2016, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Malebysse,_Richard_(DNB00)

 “The history of the state of Rhode Island and Providence ….” http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/thomas-williams-bicknell/the-history-of-the-state-of-rhode-island-and-providence-plantations-volume-8-kci/page-59-the-history-of-the-state-of-rhode-island-and-providence-plantations-volume-8-kci.shtml

Thank you for reading. As always, please let me know if you see any errors.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s