Last name: Beckinsale

Recorded in many forms including the popular Beckinsale, Beckinsall, Beckensall, Beaconsall, Becconsall, and Beckensale, this is an English surname. It is locational from a village now known as Hesketh with Becconsall, near the town of Southport in Lancashire. First recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as "Bekanshou", which is an improbable attempt by a French speaking clerk to get his brain around the local dialect, the appearance might suggest a meaning of "the place of the beacon". This given that the coast and area was regularly raided by Norsemen from Ireland for several centuries would seem logical and pragmatic. However the Oxford Dictionary of Place Names suggests that the meaning is "Bekans mound", from a Norse personal name, but one which they "borrowed" from the Irish. Locational surnames are by their nature "from" names. In this case the surname is well recorded in Lancashire, but much more so in the diocese of Greater London. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving registers include: Jane Becconshall who married Robert Farrington at Croxton, Lancashire, on May 9th 1547, Jane Beconsalle who married Xopher Wyter at Christ Church, Greyfriars, city of London, on May 28th 1561, and Richard Beckinsale, a witness at St Olaves, Southwark, on January 8th 1726.

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