This very interesting name is job descriptive and derives from the Olde French "Belle-Chambre" and in this context means the keeper of the bells probably in a Cathedral or Monastery. In Victorian times researchers believed that the name derived from 'Belencumbre', a family in Essex whose name survives in Belcumber Hall, Finchfield, but this is no longer accepted. Either way the name is rare, there being three modern alternative spellings Bellchamber, Belchambers, Belchamber. The London Church Records include one William Belchamber who married Anna Osgood on November 14th 1639 at St.Andrew by the Wardrobe, Samuel Belchamber married Hanna Oasgood on April 25th 1650 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, and John, son of John and Alice Bellchamber, was christened at St. Andrew's, London on September 15th 1657. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Belchambre, which was dated 1369, in the London Letter Book List, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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