This interesting name, with variant forms, Beauchamp, Beachamp, Beachem and De Beauchamp, is of French locational origin from any of the several places named with the Old French "beau, bel", meaning "fair" and "lovely", plus "champ(s)", field or plain, for example, Beauchamp in La Manche and Somme. The surname was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, and the first recorded namebearer (see below), obtained forty-three lordships from William the Conqueror. In early records the name was frequently Latinized as "de Bello Campo". Early recordings include: William de Bello Campo, who appeared in the 1161 Knights' Templars Records of London; Robert de Beauchamp, noted as a witness in the 1203 Fine Court Rolls of Essex; and Thomas de Becham, entered in the 1327 Somerset County Rolls. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of Thomas, son of William and Dorothy Beauchamp, on June 29th 1634, at St. Margaret Pattens; the marriage of Ralph Beauchamp and Elizabeth Fox in January 1661, at St. Benet's, Paul's Wharf; and the christening of Matthew, son of Edward and Martha Beauchamp, on December 15th 1700, at St. Sepulchre's. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo de Belcamp, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Hertfordshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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