The Family Beames

Unbroken line from 1695 with added folklore from 1066.


The main part of the following information was taken from Memoirs of a Bengal Civilian written by John Beames (VI) over the period 1858 to 1879; edited by Christopher Cooke, son of Angela (Beames) Cooke and grandson of the author; published by Chatto & Windus Ltd, 42 William IV Street, London W.C. 2 and Clarke, Irwin & Co. Ltd., Toronto in 1961.

This information is far from complete but the main family line of eldest living son to eldest living son is traced unbroken from 1695.


I n 1066 William, Richard and Walter BELEMIS, BELMEYS, BEAUMEIS or BEAMYS came over with William the Conqueror from BEAMEY or BEAUMEZ near ALENCON or from LES BEAUMES near AVIGNON.

They were attached to the Earl of Shrewsbury and obtained the manors of TONG and DONINGTON in Shropshire, also ASHBY in Derbyshire.

Richard of BEAUMES I became Bishop of London in 1108 and Warden of the Welsh Marches. Richard of BEAUMES II, nephew of the above, also became Bishop of London. These two names are inscribed in the list of former bishops on the wall of the south aisle of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The TONG and DONINGTON lines died out in 1200 and 1329 but a third line, Henry de BELEMIS settled in LIMBERG MAGNA, Lincolnshire. Another line ??? BEAUMYS held lands in Sussex, and near Reading there is still the ruined moat of BEAUMYS CASTLE. A ??? BEAUMYS settled at SAWTREE BEAUMES in Huntingdonshire.

By about 1540 during the Wars of the Roses these names seem to have shrunk into obscurity.

John I, sometimes called Roger, Beames – born 1695. Married Sarah Power of Clifton near Bristol in 1728. They had two sons:


John BEAMES, born 1695 held the same Coat of Arms as the 1066 de BEAMYS: azure six garbs or, 3, 2, and 1, crest a garb or. This seems to be possible evidence of the foregoing  connection. This John Beames, whom we will call John I, is the one from whom there is a direct line of descendants.

John II inherited the Clifton property from his grandfather Power. He was a victualler and brother George a butcher. In 1749 John married Sarah Halliday and they had 2 sons and 2 daughters. First son died in infancy. Their second son was named John (III).

John III was born in 1754 and baptised at St. James Church Piccadilly. He evidently  succeeded to the Clifton estates on the death of his father. His address was  HILLFIELD HOUSE, lower end of GRANBY HILL just above the HOTWELLS, BRISTOL. (This house could still be there!) He married Sarah Reeves and led a life  of dissipation, drinking and gambling. John III had four children, 2 of whom died in infancy. The survivors were:

John WILLIAM, born 1781 and
Sarah, born 1783, married B. G. Burroughs.

John IV, born 1781, became a lawyer at Lincoln’s Inn, had a violent temper, so was nicknamed 'CROSS BEAMES'. His first wife died, with no children. His second wife was Mary Pearson Carnarvon. They lived in Greenwich and had two children:

Thomas, born 1815.
JOHN WILLIAM, born 1817.

John IV bought BASHLEY LODGE in the New Forest around 1825, six miles west of Lymington. He was appointed King's Counsel in 1832 and died 1853.

The Arms of Beames

granted to John Beames (IV)
on 13th January, 1837.

The Arms of Carnarvon

Brought by marriage
to Mary Carnarvon

Family Coat of Arms

After marriage.

Family Seal
Wax impression

John V, second son of John IV, was a coarse brutal youth, big eater and drinker. Eventually was called to the bar.

THOMAS, eldest son of John IV was born in 1815, went to Lincoln College, Oxford, and led the life which the eldest son of a rich man and heir to a good fortune might be expected to lead. Married Susannah Amelia Dewsnap of Hugenot and French Canadian in 1836, a mesalliance. His parents cut him off. Got his M.A. at Oxford, went into the church, had a series of poor parishes, marriage very unhappy. Thomas died in 1864.

Thomas and Susannah had five children.

JOHN WILLIAM, born 1837
Pearson Thomas, born 1838 - in the Army in India, seemed to have remained a bachelor.
William Carnarvon, born 1840, died 1856.
HENRY BLUNT (Harry), born 1843 - in India Postal Service.
Mary Pearson, born 1847.

John VI, Born 1837, author of Lives of a Bengal Civilian, was in the Indian Civil Service.

John VI had eight children:


John VI was a first born, therefore if one of his sons had a boy called John then he would be John VII. If David, Fred or Rupert did not have a son called John, then perhaps one of their grandsons was John, all of which makes it very difficult to know for certain who becomes John VII.

At this point the line diverges to HENRY BLUNT BEAMES ( 4th son of John V).

He would be my great Granfather and I am John William Beames possibly the VIII.