The Beuzeville family

The following is extracted from sources on the web – largely at:

The Huguenot Family of Beuzeville

Compiled by Wilfred P de Beuzeville (circa. 1960’s), from family papers and research by W.A.W. de Beuzeville (done in the 1920’s).

The origin of the name Beuzeville is unknown; however the 19th century French historian Charpillon suggests that Beuze was derived from Boson, an influential family in early Norman times. He states that the name did not occur before the Norman occupation of the country. The first known reference to the name of Beuzeville was in the first half of the 11th century; Theodore de Beuzeville had a son Richard who lived in the region of William the Conqueror, and was recorded as a witness to the transfer of land to the monastery of Préaux.

There were several Seigneuries of Beuzeville in Normandy. One of which from the emigrant family is believed to be descended. There is a tradition recorded by James (1809 – 1887) to the effect that the family estates passed to a daughter and son-in-law of the house. She abjured the Protestant faith. He also recorded the story that the reformer Calvin was a guest of the family during one of his visits to France. These of course are family traditions without any historical evidence to support them.

An 18th century document, probably compiled by Peter (1741 – 1812), or his daughter, Esther, records a number of instances of the occurrence of the name of Beuzeville in the old Norman histories, including a reference to William de Beuzeville, royal physician at the court of Francis I of France, who is said to be a direct ancestor of James who migrated to England.

Throughout these notes the English forms of Christian names have been used, but in fact James, born in 1809, was the first child to be given the English form. His father Estienne, used Stephen all his adult life, even in legal documents. The names James and Peter appear in successive generations and are numbered as an aid to understanding.

A list of Protestants living in the Pays-de-Caux, drawn up in the year 1698, includes Samuel de Beuzeville who was living at Gruchet-le-Vallasse 2Km south of Bolbec in Normandy. He had one son James, and two daughters, Anne and Esther.

James / Jacques 1680-1745

James born before 1685, at Gruchet-le-Vallasse, and married Marianne (born 2.3.1690) eldest daughter of Peter Guillemard, Sieur of Mélamare, and his wife Judith (nee Heuze). Peter was the grandson of Daniel Guilemard, Seigneur d’Albon and de Soussigny in Poitou, and his wife Magdeline, daughter of Francis, head of the house of Gobelin, and fourth in descent from the founder – Jehan. The Beuzeville and Guilemard families are said to have been close friends for several generations prior to the marriage.

Their first son James was born in Normandy about 1708/9, and soon afterwards the family sought refuge in England where the second son Peter(1) was born in 1710. They returned to Normandy sometime later and lived at Montvilliers (Melamare) and Bolbec. It was during this period that their son Stephen was born. They returned to London about 1724 and registered at Somerset House in 1725. It was about this time that James founded the silk manufacturing firm which was carried on by the family until 1827. A cousin Levesque, was taken into partnership, and later the eldest son James when he came of age.

James was an elder and secretary of the French church of St. Jean, Spitalfields, where his younger children were baptised. He died in 1745, and his widow in 1754. They were buried in the church yard of St.Dunstans, Stepney, and a tablet to their memory was placed in the outer wall of the church. This tablet was sketched by yet another James in 1833. By 1950 the lettering had weathered away, but the tablet could be identified by the carved design.

James left a will dated Jan.25, 1743, his executors being his sons James and Stephen, and his widow. In his will he stated “I have already given my sons James and Peter £100 each, so now I give my son Stephen £100, Residuary Legatee my wife Marianne”.

Peter / Pierre 1711-1767

Peter, silk manufacturer, Spitalfields, born London 1711, died 1767. He married first, Elizabeth Roussel, (born 1709, died 1758), and secondly Susanah Davids, there was apparently no issue from this marriage. He was admitted to membership of the French Church, Threadneedle Street in 1728, and in 1745 he signed a Memorial dated Sept.26, agreeing to arm and maintain men in the field when called thereto by His Majesty in defence of his person and government.

His first wife Elizabeth was the daughter of Francis Roussel and his wife Esther, nee Heusse. This Francis together with his brother Stephen, had a remarkable escape from France.

Peter / Pierre 1741-1812

Peter(2), born 1741, died 1812 at Henley on Thames. He married his cousin Mary Griffith, daughter of Sir Griffith Meredith, and Marie-anne nee Roussel. (RDB note: Wiblin disputes this knighthood)

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