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Bevacqua Coat of Arms / Bevacqua Family Crest

This surname of BEVACQUA was an Italian and French nickname for a teetotaller, originally rendered in Latin documents in the form ILLAEAU (water). The name was found in the 13th century, and no doubt was the sobriquet of some early teetotallers. During the Middle Ages it was said that 'Ale for an Englysshe man is a naturall drynke'. It was drunk at all times, taking the place not only of tea, and coffee, but also of water. A 13th century writer describing the extreme poverty of Franciscan monks when they first settled in London writes 'I have seen the brothers drink ale so sour that some would have preferred to drink water'. The surname was perhaps applied to a man so poor that he could not afford to drink ale even when it was four gallons a penny. The name was also used ironically of a tavern-keeper, and perhaps of a tippler. During the 17th century surnames were brought to Britain, North America and southern Africa by French Huguenot exiles. The Huguenots were French Protestants, and in 1572 large numbers of them were massacred in Paris on the orders of Queen Catherine de'Medici. Many of the survivors sought refuge in England and elsewhere. Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. It was then the trickle of emigration became a flood. Many migrated to England, while others joined groups of Dutch Protestants settling around the Cape of Good Hope. Others sailed across the Atlantic to establish themselves in North America. The name is also spelt BOILLEAU, BOISLEVE, and BEVILACQUA. A family called BOILEAU are descended from Etienne Boileau, governor of Paris under Louis IX in 1255. A number of them later became Huguenots and so exiles; Charles Boileau (1673-1733) was a military commander of the forces under Marlborough, and his sons settled in Dublin.

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last updated on: September 13 2018

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