William Betham (antiquary)

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William Betham (1749–1839) was an English clergyman and antiquary, known for his work on the baronetage.


He was born at Little Strickland, near Morland, Westmoreland, on 17 May 1749. He was educated at the public school of Bampton, was ordained in 1773, apparently without graduating at a university, and became chaplain to the Earl of Ancaster. From 1784 to 1833 he was head master of the endowed school at Stonham Aspel, Suffolk; he resigned the post in 1833, on being presented to the rectory of Stoke Lacy, in the diocese of Hereford. He died six years later, aged 90.


Betham was the author of two antiquarian works. In 1795 he published by subscription, in London, Genealogical Tables of the Sovereigns of the World, from the earliest to the present period, giving pedigrees of royal families, beginning with the ‘Antediluvian Patriarchs,’ and concluding with the ‘House of Cromwell.’ It was dedicated to George III.

Betham announced a work on the baronetage of England; the first volume appeared in 1801, when it was published at Ipswich with the following title: The Baronetage of England, or the History of the English Baronets, and such Baronets of Scotland as are of English Families, with Genealogical Tables and Engravings of their Armorial Bearings. The first volume was dedicated to James Cecil, 1st Marquess of Salisbury. The second volume, dedicated to Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis, was published at London in 1802. The third, fourth, and fifth volumes appeared in 1803, 1804, and 1805.


In 1774 he married Mary, daughter of William Damont, of Eye, Suffolk, and by her he had fifteen children. His eldest surviving son was Sir William Betham, and Mary Matilda Betham was his daughter.



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Betham, William (1749-1839)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.