The Bednall Archive
Last updated 23/03/2008
Worcestershire Place Names
Cheshire Place Names
Other Place Name References
There may be many other places as yet undiscovered by the author from which the Bednall/ Beadnell, etc. personal names evolved and a limited search of the more accessible records has revealed some possibilities that have yet to be investigated. These include a reference in the index to the Victoria County History of Worcestershire, volume V, listing the place name Budnell in the section on Castlemorton in the Pershore Hundred. On page 120 of the same volume of the V.C.H. mention is made of a Walter Baldenhall, circa 1192, concerning a Knight's Fee in Madresfield.
Further references to Battenhall, St.Peter with Withington occur in volume III of the V.C.II. Worcestershire (pages 277 & 511) and in various PRO publications including, in volume VII of the Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, the statement that "Battenal alias Badenhal occurs in St.Peters parish Worcestershire (454)AAAA". Later in the same publication the manor of Chirchehull is mentioned which John de Wysam held of the heirs of Pouer as of the manor of Badenhale.
The reference to Budnell in Castlemorton, Worcestershire is interesting because this name was borne by a Thomas de Budenhall (Sometimes spelt Bedenhall) clerk to and executor of the will of John de Delves, deputy justiciar of Chester and business manager of the Black Prince. Perhaps a more pertinent reference however, is that made to a place called Budenhall, Chester in the Inquisitions Post Mortem,..".Chakkeleye - A moiety of the town is held of the heirs of Henry de Hasshal in exchange for lands in Hashall and Buddenhall ". Given Delves’ connections with the Audley family it seems likely that this Budenhall/Bedenhall line was a junior branch of the Sandbach family who held (amongst others) a small property called Bidenhall near Congleton in Cheshire. The pedigree of Sandbach of Sandbach given in History of Ancient Parish of Sandbach, Holmes Chapel etc. by J.P.Earwaker describes Randle son of Thomas de Sandbach (clerk, Rector of Sandbach) as "Lord of a Moiety of Budenhall@. Randle had a son who was called Randle de Budenhall - date approx. 1250 -1300.
Other Cheshire references occur in the 14th century . For example, a fine dated 29 Sept. 1337 between Richard de Sandebach and William de Clorton relating to the Manor of Sandbach and 1/2 the Manor of Sproston together with the service, homage, etc. of Richard and William de Budenhall and others. Thomas de Budenhall therefore seems likely to have been a member of this family and may have carried the Budnell coat of arms
Argent a bend cotised Gules between six crosses of the second
Amongst other examples which illustrate how wide the net must be cast to locate possible sources of the Bednall/Badnall, etc. name are:
a reference in the Victoria County History (VCH) for Warwickshire, volume IV, page 194, to "Dodnale Grange now Bodnalls Grange@ and also to Doudenhale in Hemlingford -Inquisitions Ad &Quod Damnum 21 Ric.II, File 428, No.10-";
the attachment of the name to topographical features as exemplified by Bednal Brook, a tributary of the river Teme which enters the river at Upper Berrington near Tenbury Wells on the Herefordshire/ Worcestershire border. Other topographical features around this brook carry the Bednal name, e.g. Bednal Bridge and Bednal Coppice.
Further references to places of late medieval origin whose names incorporate the Bednall / Badnall /Beadnell name occur in the 16th and 17th centuries, several in connection with Bethnal Green, London.
Bethnal Green in London was called Bednall Grene in 1553 the name by which Samuel Pepys knew it. This version of the name also occurs in a 17th century play entitled "The Blind Beggar of Bednal-Green with the Merry Humor of Tom Stroud the Norfolk Yeoman", written by John Day. See also "The Journeys of Celia Fiennes 1698" by C.Morris (The Cresset Press, p.141, 282) where it is spelt Bednall Green and Historic Manuscripts Commission Reports 1911 to1957, London-re 9 Salisbury XVIII:72 Laing II.
The Blind Beggar of Bednall Green.
Showing how his daughter was married to a Knight, and had three thousand pound to her portion.
Bessee, the beggar's daughter of Bednall Green was very beautiful, and was courted by four suitors at once- a knight, a gentleman of fortune, a London merchant, and the son of the inn-keeper at Romford. She told them that they must obtain the consent of her father, the poor blind beggar of Bethnal Green. When they heard that, they all slunk off except the knight, who went to ask the beggar's leave to wed the "pretty Bessee.'' The beggar gave her 100 to buy her wedding gown. At the wedding feast he explained to the guests that he was Henry, son and heir of Sir Simon de Montfort.
At the battle of Evesham the barons were routed, Montfort slain, and himself left on the field for dead. A baron's daughter discovered him; nursed him with care, and married him; the fruit of this marriage was ``pretty Bessee.'' Henry de Montfort assumed the garb and semblance of a beggar to escape the vigilance of King Henry's spies. (Percy: Reliques.)
Here the name appears to refer to a hamlet which grew up in a clearing in a wood in the late medieval period and like many such examples from various, formerly well wooded, parts of the country appears to be associated with the name of a person. However, the earliest (14th century) reported reference to Bednall alias Bethnal Green gives the name as Blithenhal and this tends to refute the above suggested origin. Further research is needed to clarify this matter since it is known that at least one of the Staffordshire Bednalls, a member of the lower gentry, visited London at various times in the late 14th century and had powerful friends at court. Another, Thomas Budenhall/Bedenhall, was a member of the household of John de Delves, Deputy Justiciar of Chester and one of the Black Prince's most valued servants. He undoubtedly travelled widely on his master's business and is likely to have had the access to patronage which would have enabled him to acquire, for himself or for his kin, the right to exploit a suitable forest or woodland site. Further research is needed to determine, perhaps from early charters and deeds, the origins of the various place names and the extent to which the various possible sources of the personal name actually contributed to the spread of the name and its various derivatives.