Researches about the Name and Village of Beeby

by Roger Beeby of Leicester - 20th March 2003

Note: Roger also contributed the articles "The Beeby or Beby name in Medieval Leicester" and "Researches about Beeby’s in Medieval Times in Leicester"

The Village is situated about 6 miles to the north east of Leicester and remains essentially a rural village.  The population has changed very little since the Domesday Survey in 1098!

This research does not progress any family history work, as there are no proven links between the Village name and the Family name, but at least it is interesting.

Bad news for genealogists!

The Parish registers of Beeby commence in 1540.  One of the oldest in the County.  There are no mentions of Beeby in the register.  The families who were Lords of the Manor were Bickerton and Goddard and their pedigrees are set out in Nichols.  There are tombs to these families in the Church.

 For Beeby Family historians, we must assume that if you were an agricultural labourer in medieval times, without any land or property you would not pick up the name ‘Beeby’ until you left the village for work or marriage.


The "Nichols History of Leicester" is a huge work in 6 volumes, published in 1800.
The "Victoria County History" is in multiple volumes and was published during the late 19th Century.
They are to be found in the Reference Library in Bishop Street. Leicester and in the Record Offices.


**Nichols Volume 1 Part II  Page 427, 428, 451**

 October 18 1641 John Beeby was chosen Bailiff of this borough, at a meeting of the Mayor and his brethren, and on the 25th of the said month was sworn.

 Oct 24 1645 at a common hall, John Beeby is chosen clerk of the statutes for this borough till May 1 next.

Annals of Leicester.(page 451) John Beeby was chosen Bailiff as above but he being guilty of several misdemeanours the return of processes was taken from him Jan 5 1654-5 and it was ordered the processes of the Court of Record of the Borough should be directed to the chief serjeant at mace, or his deputy, till further order.  Nevertheless he continued bailiff in 1656

(This period was the time of the Siege of Leicester in the Civil war and Nichols describes in the pages around these entries, the siege and ensuing battle, when the Royalists seized Leicester).

**Nichols Volume III Part 1 pages 167-171**

There is a detailed account of the Village from pre-Danish Times. To summarize, it was a small settlement probably set up by some of the Danish incomers in the 7-9th centuries and there could well have been some bee-keeping activity.  This would account for the name. The suffix ‘BY’ is a clear sign of a Danish settlement and means small village or farmstead.

The Church is unusual in having an unfinished steeple.  The steeple is sometimes  referred to as the ‘Beeby Tub’.  Nichols recounts a legend about the reason for the spire not being completed.  There is an unfounded story that two brothers were building it, and they argued and fought and both fell off and broke their necks!

 Nichols prints a little rhyme about this legend:

 ‘Beeby Tub was to have been a spire
Two brothers fought and broke their necks
And so twas built no higher’

 There is an excellent engraving of the Church in Nichols.

** Victoria County History**

 The village of Beeby or Bebi

 The village lies about 5 miles North East of Leicester.

 Domesday Book Census  1068

 5 Sokemen (under the Danelaw a Sokeman is a freeman enjoying extensive rights over land)
21 Villeins ( Peasants ..bound to the Lord of the Manor.  Serf is another term.)
3 Bordars (Not in my dictionary!)
2 Servi  (From the Norman French word for servant, a fairly lowly position at that time)

 It is not clear if females were included in the count!

 Population return  in 1563

Beeby was at that time in the Goscote Hundred .  (A  medieval administrative area)

Population 19

 Liber Cleri 1603.

A review of the population by the Deanery of Goscote.

112 Communicants and Recusants
(A recusant was a person refusing to take Communion in the Church of England as required by law at that time.  Could be Roman Catholic or even early Protestants.)

 Hearth Tax 1607  Michaelmas.  A survey by the East Goscote Hundred tax collector.

26 paying Tax, 7 exempt.

1676 Ecclesiastical Census by the Deanery of Goscote


 Census Returns 1801 to 1951

1801    128                  1851            139                  1901            93

1811    121                  1861            119                  1911            95

1821    121                  1871            114                  1921            98

1831    120                  1881            108                  1931            97

1841    115                  1891            106                  1951            109

 Local Government reorganisation in 1872 brought Beeby into the Barrow-upon-Soar Rural District .

 Pevsner. Buildings of Leicestershire and Rutland

All Saints Church, 13th and 14th Century, with Chancel of 1819 and restoration work in 1893.

The Manor House.  Is a small but elegant building modified in about  1740, but probably includes earlier work.

 Little Beeby. 200metres SE of the Church,  is actually a mid 17th Century Farmhouse. Possibly the centre of a small farming community in earlier times.

 There is a fresh water spring in the centre of the village.

see also "Researches about Beeby’s in Medieval Times in Leicester"

R.T.Beeby.  20 March 2003