As you’ll have read Simon had a family
connection to the Wharton family and must have had a very close
friendship with Humphrey Wharton who provided the double living for him
on his land.
I believe “our” Humphrey was named for one of the Humphrey Whartons,
probably the one in Westmorland who died on January 1st 1635, if only
because they are the only Humphreys I’ve ever discovered in
Westmorland, Co. Durham et al. I have a hunch “our” Humphrey’s
departure might be something to do with Humphrey Wharton’s death. He
may have been within his protection and relied on him for financial or
subsistence support which could have died with him – could have been a
godfather perhaps, which was an important relationship then and taken
There are unquestionably links between Belt, Birkbeck and Wharton. If
you look at the map below, you’ll see what a comparatively small area
they all lived in.
The case for Humphrey being part of this family circle is:
5. Education; we deduced about
decade ago Humphrey had to have been literate which was a feature of
strongly non-conformist groups.
6. Non-conformist religious
leanings. The Whartons and Birkbecks, by extension, have been
part of studies at a university and in the period 1615-1635 they were
the leading extremist Protestants in the area Westmorland, Co, Durham
and North Yorkshire. There is an extract included here below on
Humphrey’s religious inclinations, and literacy, from an email dating
from 3rd March 2010 which I wrote to Beltteam when this subject arose
again. I’ve amended the text to take account of the latest information.
Finally, regarding the coat-of-arms, only one person could have
introduced it into the Belt family and that was Humphrey who must have
had something – a coloured drawing, some kind of artefact with a
representation of the design. There is one subtle difference
between the recorded design with the College of Arms and Colonel
Joseph’s and that is the colour change of dark blue to black of the
chequerboard part of the Arms design.
Edward had this checked out with an expert on paint and the simplest
and most likely explanation is ageing. By the time anyone got
around to making a new image, the colour change had taken place.
Woodcock in his letters states the difference in the two colours is so
slight it’s interchangeable and of no importance.
Something that needs to be taken into consideration is when Humphrey
left England in 1635 he may have arrived at Dartford as Humphrey
Birkbeck or Humphrey Wharton and landed in Virginia as Humphrey
Belt. This would explain why, after hundreds of searches by all
kinds of people through at least five decades no one has found even a
hint of any Humphrey Belt in any parish record in UK so far.
it’s just as likely Humphrey’s birth was recorded in a family bible
belonging to a family wealthy enough to support its own church on its
own land and one which kept the parish records once they were
completed. It’s only since the 1950’s these have been passed to record
offices. With the almost continuous destruction of manor houses,
granges and home farms since the end of WWII many of them will have
been lost. This means, when they are unavailable, looking for property
records, memoirs and local biographies will be the best way, perhaps
the only way forward.