The Bednall Archive

Last updated: 06/02/2010

Name distribution 
Telephone Survey Values
Numbers based on Annual Deaths
Probate Register Values

Name Distribution in the UK

To determine the number of people with the Bednall, etc. name living in England currently,  a survey of the Post Office telephone directories was carried out in 1981 which revealed a total of 256 subscribers whose names were either Badnall; Beadnell; Bednall; Bednal; Bidnall or Bodnell.    These individuals were chiefly located in the industrial areas of the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East with small clusters around Manchester and Greater London.  97 percent of the Bednall/Badnall/Bodnall group lived south of a line drawn from Filey to Chester and 82 percent of the Beadnells lived to the north of the same line.  Whether or not these figures mean anything more than that in an industrial country most of the population will congregate around places where they can get work is difficult to say, but they might give, indirectly, some indication of name origins (see also appendix 1).

The most common form of the name was Bednal or Bednall - 49 percent of the total number, followed by Beadnell or Beadnall (32 percent) and Badnall (12 percent) with the other forms of the name making up the remainder.

Telephone Users

Distribution of Badnall, Bednall, Beadnelle etc, names in the UK.The distribution of these telephone subscribers throughout the country is shown in Figure 1. It can be shown that 97 percent of those whose names are spelt either Bednall, Bednal or Badnall live south of a line running from Filey on the East Coast to Chester on the West.  Similarly, 82 percent of all those whose names are spelt either Beadnell or Beadnall live north of the same line.

Particular concentrations of the Bednall/Badnall name occur in and around :
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire;
Birmingham and

There is also a ring of such subscribers in the counties around London.

The greatest concentrations of the Beadnell/Bedanall name occur in and around 

Newcastle upon Tyne
Leeds and

An estimate of the total number of persons bearing the above names alive in this country today can be made using Government statistics relating to the number of households with telephones ( 75.8 percent) and the number of persons per household (2.729) in 1981.  The results suggest that there are 318 Bednall/Beadnell/Badnall, etc. households and 922 individuals bearing these names.  Even if the number of persons / households with telephones is an overestimate due to sampling errors in the data used by the Central Statistical Office, the total number of Bednall/Beadnell/Badnall, etc. households is unlikely to exceed 500 or the total of individuals 1380.

Annual Bednall, etc. Deaths  

 A cross check on these figures could be made by comparing the 10 year mean annual number of Bednall/Beadnells, etc. deaths registered at St.Catherine's House, London with a value estimated from the results of the above survey and the current crude death rate (13.5 per 1000 living persons)[1].  If the above assessment is correct then there should be between 12 and 18 Bednall/Beadnell/Badnall, etc. deaths a year.
The author does not have up to date figures for the number of such deaths recorded during the past 20 or 30 years on which to base a calculation. For the period  from 1837 to 1945, however, the registers of St Catherine’s House give the following data for Bednall, Badnall, Bidnall and Bodnall deaths[2] :

 Bednall, Etc. Numbers Based On Annual Deaths


Total Deaths

Annual Mean

National Death Rate/1000*

Bednall etc. Numbers

1840 to 1849



20.9 to 25.1

127 to 153

1850 to 1859



20.8 to 23.5

149 to 168

1860 to 1869



21.2 to 23.7

223 to 250

1870 to 1879



20.7 to 22.9

336 to 371

1880 to 1889



18.1 to 20.7

328 to 375

1890 to 1899



16.6 to 20.2

430 to 524

1900 to 1909



14.6 to 18.2

418 to 520

1910 to 1919



13.3 to 17.3

381 to 496

1920 to 1929



11.6 to 13.4

440 to 508

1930 to 1939



11.6 to 12.3

577 to 612

1940 to 1945



Assumed as above

585 to 620

*Abstract of Historical Statistics. Mitchell, B. R. Cambridge University Press 1962.

Registers of Probates & Administrations.

All grants of probate and letters of administration are recorded in the indexes of the Principal Probate Registry and these too can be used to estimate population numbers if the ratio of the numbers of probates or admons (Letters of Administration) issued to the total number of deaths in any year is known.

In 1971, 657,000 persons died in Great Britain and the total of probate and grants of letters of administration was 293,000  a ratio of 0.44597.   In the 1960s and 1970s the annual total of Badnall/Bednall/Beadnall ,etc. probates and letters of administration (admons.) was 6.2.    Assuming the ratio of probates and admons to total deaths to be the same as the national figure, the estimated number of persons bearing Badnall/Bednall/Beadnall, etc. names dying annually is 13.9.     The annual death rate in the 1950s and in the 1980s was 12.5 to 12.6 per 1000 living and thus the total number of living Badnall/Beadnells, etc. should be approximately 1103 at the present time.  Of these between 58 and 64 percent (640 to 706) are likely to be Badnalls or Bednalls, 33 to 37 percent (364 to 408) Beadnells and the remainder Bidnells.


The various assessments of the numbers of individuals bearing Bednall etc. names give results which are reasonably consistent one with another.  They indicate that the name is an uncommon one occurring at a rate of  less than 1 in 40000 in the general population.  The Badnall and Bidnell forms are the rarest forms.

Families bearing Bednall, etc. names appear to be the descendants of four or five families who were living when the Doomsday survey was carried out.  The majority are the descendants of two primary sources in Staffordshire and a third in  Northumbria.

Other Sources of Distribution Information

[1] Compendium of  Health Statistics 1982
Does not include Beadnells

A.W.Bednall, Macclesfield 1996-2001