2001  Mark Beilby

The Missing Beilby puzzle 


Over the last 150 plus years the following questions have been asked in the current Beilby family.

  1. What Happened to the 3rd William (1674) the son of Richard Beilby (1625) and Barbara Lowther (1643)?
  2. Why was William passed over in regards the Mickethwaite Grange Estate?
  3. Was William executed because he was linked to the Royalist of Charles the First?
  4. How does Richard Beilby, the father of William Beilby the Goldsmith and grandfather of " The Ingenious Beilby's" the famous artists in glass, fit into the main line of Beilby's?

Below is an extract of an unpublished genealogy paper by Hubert Beilby who is one of many who had tried to solve this riddle.


Let me put to you a theory that may be soon proven beyond doubt.


William Beilby (3rd) was Christened on the 28th of May 1674, at Collingham, Yorkshire, England. This much is well recorded and many independent studies have verified this.  

Almost nothing after this is known of William. The Estates of Killerby Grange and Micklethwaite Grange were inherited, not By William (as should have been the case) but by his sisters Barbara and Ann.

No record of Williams death has been until (maybe) now has been know to have been recorded.

A number of publications suggest William had associations with the Royalists of Charles the First. This may be an explanation, or maybe it was a simple family feud. The only thing we do know for certain is that for whatever reason he did not inherit the family estates.


Richard Beilby  was born about 1672 -1673, Died 1726. Richard was the father of William Beilby (4th) who was to become the father of the famous Beilby artisans of Glass, William and Mary Beilby, while Ralph was to be more of business head of the family and the teacher of Thomas Bewick.

Little is known of Richard Beilby it is now known that Richard had two wives one being Margaret Woolfe, the other still unknown. Richard had 10 known children. There is also mention of an unknown son "Charles". You will read in the note below written by Hubert Beilby that in Richards diary there is talk about "Brother Charles". I have retyped the extract for legibility below, 

"A letter of good advice to his children dictated on his death bed and written by his son William. In this letter one of his sons Richard (presumable born in Bridlington in 1702) had asked him if he has anything to say about "brother Charles", who was evidently a bad lot, to which the old man replied that 'Charles, God knows, has been a sorry wretch'. This Charles does not appear among the Bridlington births, but three (3) years elapsed between the marriage of Richard and Margaret and the recorded birth of their daughter Margaret, Charles may have been born earlier."

It is worthy to note that the first 10 pages were removed from this diary, who knows what detail they may have contained.

Secondly also an extract  from the book "A Beilby Odyssey" by James Rush" published in 1987 by Nelson and Saunders (I am currently in the process of trying to find the copyright owners of the two pieces shown on this web page. I am willing to make good any reasonable claim if requested noting that these pages are for the public record to help solve this question.  No monies has or will be requested by me or anyone else known to me from this site).

Note the entry "Richard Beilby N 1673 or Bealby V 15 Feb 1726/7 ....... in the 54th year of his age" to the upper right of this entry is a mention "Second wife Jenny children Richard Charles" The rest I cannot read at this time.

Now for the last piece of evidence that I have on hand once again an extract from a book " A Beilby Odyssey" by James Rush.


You will see hare a reference to two (2) William Beilby's, it is the first on that is of interest. This is the missing William, "William Beilby Esq bap at Collingham 28 May 1674. obit 1726."

It is the mention of "obit 1726" that is of interest. Up until now no information of Williams death has been known and I am currently trying to contact the author of the above work to verify the 'obit 1726" entry.

If this entry is in deed the obituary notice of William who was baptised on the 28th of May 1674, and did indeed die in 1726 it begs to be compared to Richard.

Richard who was born about 1673 and died also in 1726. There is no record of Richards birth, as there has been no record of Williams death.

Here is the question, 

Was William Beilby (3rd) and Richard Beilby one in the same person?

What are the chances of the date of birth and date of death (the same year) for two people bearing the same rare surname happening?

I does fit the known story, maybe William wasn't executed, but decided to hide himself if indeed he was associated with the Royalists. He may not have wanted to change his surname as that would have meant everything to him being from the family and heritage he was born.

Maybe it was a simple family feud. Maybe Richards other wife was not liked by the family?

These questions will in all likelihood never be answered.

What is known is that Richard must have been  a man of some breeding as can be seen from descendants as well as his attitude toward his son "Charles".

Richard was most definitely a descendant of this earlier line of Beilby's going back no more than 2 generations, of  this there is no doubt as Richards descendents , 

William Beilby 1706-1764
Thomas Beilby1747-1826
Thomas Beilby 1781-1860 and finally 
William Beilby MD 1783-1849 (President of the Edinburgh College of Physicians and Surgeons).

All of these descendent bore the coat of arms granted to Richard Beilby in 1612. 

Considering the breeding of these gentlemen one has to assume that they bore these arms legitimately and made application through the "College of Arms" to do so.


How do I prove this?

1. I am trying to contact the author of the family tree to locate the obituary stated in it.
2. I am raising a query with the "College of Arms" as if the arms have been used in the true heraldic tradition a record of their use must be on hand. The only doubt I do have of this is that Hubert Beilby did employ the "College of Arms" to do a search of the various parish records for his genealogical study. Wether he did a Heraldic search is unknown.


To be Continued...........................................................