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Bingham Families: Origins

   The Bingham family is English in origin. Two separate and well documented families assumed the name. Some people have contended that these families are actually one and the same, but recent scholarship has disproved this theory. English cousins Frank Creswell and John Bingham, both Bingham family researchers, have devoted years to locating and translating ancient documents such as wills, probates, and court records. Their comments on the origins of the Bingham families follow.

  The Bingham families of Sutton Bingham in Somerset; Melcombe Bingham, Dorset; and County Mayo, Eire are related to each other, but opinions differ on their relationship to the Bingham family of Nottingham. The Heralds Visitation in 1587 by Robert Cooke, Clarenceux, of the Melcombe Bingham family give four dubious generations before Ralph de Bingham of Somerset. Ralph had two sons: Ralph the heir of Sutton and Robert the younger son. Robert was a canon of Salisbury Cathedral and elected Bishop of Salisbury by his fellow canons in 1228. He died in 1246 and is buried in the Cathedral. Despite family claims to the contrary there is no evidence that he was a priest at Bingham, Nottinghamshire. Robert was reputedly born in 1164, so if his father was about 20 years of age at the time of Robert’s birth, we have the date 1144 when this de Bingham family existed. They later dropped the de from their surname.

  Ralph de Bingham junior, the heir of Sutton Bingham, also had two sons. The elder son, William, was granted Sutton Bingham by Charter on his marriage to Cecelia, daughter and heiress of Geoffrey de Mandeville, Lord of Hardington and Coker. He took as his arms, Ermine three lions rampant in chief.

   The younger son, Robert, acquired Melcombe Bingham on his marriage to Lucy, daughter and heiress of Sir Richard Turberville. He took as his arms, Azure a bend cotised between six crosses patée or. The County Mayo Binghams are a junior line of the Melcombe Bingham family from whom the Earldoms of Lucan and Clanmorris descend.


                                                  Left: Melcombe Bingham Armorial Bearing®1


                                                 Azure a bend cotised between six crosses patée or


   In regard to the Nottingham family, Ralph Bugge, a wealthy Nottingham merchant had two sons. Ralph Bugge, the elder son, was granted the Manor of Bingham by Charter from Earl Ferrers in 1263. There is no evidence of any Bugge family involvement in Bingham prior to the granting of this Charter. Richard Bugge, the younger son, inherited land at Willoughby on the Wolds from his father and went to live there, changing his name to Sir Richard Willoughby. He took as his arms, Or on two bars gules three water bugets 2 and 1 argent.

   Ralph Bugge of Bingham also had two sons, Richard Bugge, the elder son, inherited the Manor of Bingham from his father, lived there and changed his name to Sir Richard Bingham. He took as his arms, Or on a fesse gules, three water bugets argent.


     Right: Nottingham Bingham Armorial Bearing®1

     Or, on a fesse gules, three water bugets argent



  The younger son, Geoffrey Bugge, was granted the Manor of West Leake by his father, went to live there and retained the name Bugge. He took as his arms, a shield or on a fess gules three water bugets argent overall a bend azure.

   Sir Richard Bingham could not have adopted the name of Bingham before the grant of the Charter to his father in 1263. His adoption of the name occurred some 119 years after the birth of Ralph c. 1144, father of Robert Bishop of Salisbury. The Binghams of Nottingham therefore have an entirely separate origin from the Melcombe and County Mayo, Ireland, Binghams.



Bingham Families: Origins

Contributed by John Bingham and Frank Creswell, 8th October 2000
edited by Donna Bingham Munger

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