Welcome to On Beacon Hill, occasional newsletters about the Bicknell family history, and links to Marcus's close family and activities. Please send Bicknell news and pieces of history to the editor Marcus Bicknell, who maintains the family tree of about 1200 relations in the British Isles, Australia and New Zealand. This site is linked to Derek Bicknell's family site (he specializes in the American Bicknells) which you can access through the menu 2 frames below.
More on Clarence Bicknell
* John Bicknell was indicted for murdering Robert Rasebek on 25 March 1391 near York but was pardoned by Henry IV.
* Sir John Bicknell, MP for Shaftesbury, was knighted by Henry VII on the battlefield of Bosworth in 1485. He and two other commanders were so honoured, for valour, within an hour of the end of the battle.
* Of the 29,000 marriage licences issued in London between 1521 and 1869, the name Bicknell is registered only once.
* Sydney Bicknell, for sport, rode his horse over the 7 foot 6 inch high wall of Hyde Park in 1792.
* Miss Eliza Bicknell lost her life in 1819 by her skull being fractured by a bottle wantonly thrown from the gallery of a London Theatre.
* Elhanan Bicknell (1788-1861), Marcus's great great grandfather, took his name from the American preacher Elhanan Winchester. Having made his money with a fleet of thirty ships which monopolized the Pacific sperm-whale fishery business, he patronized several celebrated artists of the time including Turner. Elhanan has a link with the site of the London Millenium Dome. Iain Sinclair writes in the Royal Academy Magazine of Spring 2003: "Ever since the Thatcherite period, the river has become the focus to be fought over by various interests. It now fragments into this wonderful series of architectural pastiches from the funfair of the Eye, which is deemed to be a success, to the Dome, which is a failure. The Dome was built on an area where whale meat and bones were bundled into vats to make the oil used for light houses. The magnate who made his money from that was Turner’s greatest patron, Elhanan Bicknell. He lived in Herne Hill in a house where Turner could retreat from the city. His wealth came from these stinking vats on the marshes which became this great Millennial folly. Eventually, the Dome will become an extension of Docklands to shift the development across the river."
* Wing-Commander Nigel Bicknell DSO DFC, Marcus's father, was born 16th June 1918 in Hexham, Northumberland, the youngest child of Raymond Percy Bicknell and Phillis Lovibond. He was active in the RAF in World War II and pursued a career in the Foreign Service, as an industrial designer and in the Central Office of Information. He produced hundred of sketches throughout his life and was creative in many ways. He died in 1990 and I have recently completed a chronicle of his life, including his World War II exploits, which I can make available to Royal Air Force researchers and family members. An excerpt about Nigel's exploits with Pampa are linked from the from the contents page (OBH newsletter 11).
* Ed Bicknell was the manager of Dire Straits for 23 years. As the Notting Hillbillies drummer for the Concert For Life in January 1995 he was
quoted by Today as saying "It was a really good night." See his biography on this site, newsletter 9.
* Elhanan's third son Herman Bicknell was, in 1862, the first foreigner to visit Mecca wholly undisguised. He nearly lost his life on the Matterhorn in August 1870, but made a successful ascent in 1872. His literal and metrical translation of all the Odes of Hafiz was unfinished at his death, so his brother Sydney completed and published it in 1875.
* Herman's grandsons were called Basil Bysshe Bye Bagshawe Bicknell and Cedric Caedmon Canute Crooke Bicknell. Basil Bicknell (1899-1918) died in action at Soissons with the Yorkshire Regiment, the Green Howards.
* Elhanan's eighth son Algernon Sydney Bicknell (1832-1911) made ten ascents of Vesuvius, six during eruptions. He crossed the Andes four times and crossed South America through the Amazonian jungle. He wrote the book of the Bicknell family 'Five Pedigrees' which we referenced in On Beacon Hill No.1 and No.8.
* Maria Bicknell married Constable, the painter. 'You once talked to me about a journal,' he wrote to her before their marriage. 'I have a little one that I made last summer that might amuse you could you see it - you will then see how I amuse my leisure walks - picking up little scraps of trees - plants - distances &c'.
Controversy concerning the origins of the Bicknell family
New research by Robin Bush, Somerset Historian, 1999 , in "On Beacon Hill No.8"
The first newsletter of this series drew on Sydney Bicknell's "Five Pedigrees" of 1912, which is drawn from his "Excerpta Biconyllae" of 1895 (both of which are in Marcus's possession), and from his original study "A Forgotten Chancellor and Canon", published in 1874 in the Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, vol.xl (ii), pp. 179-226. It gave Sydney Algernon's conclusions that John de Bykenhulle, of Beacon Hill in Somerset, is the first Bicknell, and the man from whom we are all descended. He was the son of Joan de l'Estre and Robert de Pavilly, of Normandy (English, Paveley) who had married in 1260 A.D. John the son had changed his name to Bykenhulle after the name of his mother Joan's estate, Beacon Hill, according to Sydney.
In early February 1999, an eminent Somerset historian, Robin Bush, wrote to the editors "On Beacon Hill" (Derek Bicknell and Marcus Bicknell) to give new evidence that effectively disposes of any idea that the Bicknells were descended from the Paveleys. He shows historical references to Bicknells from as early as 1201. But there is a possibility that we are descended from the Paveley ancestors "De Estre". His letter is reproduced below in full. All Bicknells take this news seriously,and with some excitement, as it refutes the widely-held notions of the origins of the family. Marcus has been trying to find Sydney Algernon Bicknell's original research notes from the family files and will keep you all informed of any further discussions with Robin and of any findings.
Click here to send the editor, Marcus Bicknell, an E-mail
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