The surname of BEESELY was a locational name 'of Beesley' a spot in County Lancashire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name was originally derived from the Old English word BEOSLEAH, literally meaning the dweller in the wood-clearing. The name is now common in the West Midlands and elsewhere, as well as in Lancashire. Early records of the name mention Thomas de Besleg, 1246 County Lancashire. Richard Beesley of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The name has many variant spellings which include Beasley, Beesley and Besley. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward 11. (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people.
When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day.
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