The Bellyse Family

(“bell – iss”) 











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We explore here the relationship between the Baker family and the Bellyse Family.




Dr John 'Cockfighting' Bellyse

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1738 to 1828

Married Mary Bayley (1747 to 1784) in 1778

Married Sarah Hayward (d 1803) in about 1785

Married Margaret Tremlow (d 1810) after 1803

Married Ann Brown (d 1847) after 1810


Known as ‘Cock-fighting’ Bellyse

Founder of the Waterloo Cup for coursing

The Lymes, Woore Road

Woodhouse, Audlem











Edward Bellyse

B 1779



Dr John Bellyse The Younger

1786 to 20 December 1860

Married Hannah Baker (BAK00101) on 27 September 1808 at Mucklestone, Staffordshire

A surgeon (July 1828 and 7 June 1841

Dorfold Cottage, Nantwich, Cheshire

Sandy Lane, Audlem





Sarah Bellyse

d 1800

5 other children




Richard Baker Bellyse

17 May 1809 to 11 January 1877


There is an inscription in the square at Audlem which reads “In memory of Richard Baker Bellyse, who practised as a surgeon in this town for 40 years. Born 17th May 1809. Died 11th January 1877. In appreciation of a life spent in relieving the sufferings of his fellow creatures. A man he was to all the country dear. By medicine life may be prolonged, yet death will seize the doctor too.”




Hannah Bellyse

b 1810

William Bellyse

1812 to 1813

Eliza Bellyse

b 1815

Jane Bellyse

1818 to 1833

Edwin Swinfen Bellyse

1820 to 1877

Married Sarah Ann Betterley (1824 to 1897)

Frederick Chetwode Hoskins Bellyse

1821 to 1880

He presented the brass eagle lectern at Audlem Parish Church, as trustee for the Hankelow Estate

Married Anne Kent and later Marianna Burgess

Henrietta Louisa Bellyse

1824 to 1880

Married her cousin, William Baker the Younger (BAK00121) in 1849




The Baker Family



Lizzie Bellyse

b 1831




Edith Ann Bellyse

1853 to 1934

Edwin Reginald Bellyse

1856 to 1924

Louisa Bellyse

1843 to 1873

Frederick Bellyse

1847 to 1901

John  Burgess Bellyse

1856 to 1942



From Nineteenth Century Audlem by Marjorie Burton, 1873:


There have been Bellyses of Audlem for nearly two hundred years. Dr Richard Bellyse has already been mentioned. His grandfather, Dr John Belyse, King of Cheshire’s cock fighting fraternity, was born in 1738 and lived to be ninety. His home was the 16th century house now known as the Lymes.


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Once the home of Cockfighting Belyse, the Lymes stands on Woore Road.


Audlem, The History of a Cheshire Parish and its five townships, 1997 recalls the renown of Dr John ‘Cockfighting’ Bellyse:


In times long past Cockfighting was particularly popular in the parish. For this purpose cocks were prepared in various ways with special diets (largely of wheat meal bread) and sweating to get rid of surplus fat. When full blown cockerels they were ‘dubbed’, with the cutting off of the comb close to the head, and the clipping of tail feathers; there thus being less for the enemy’s beak. The claws were sharpened and spurs of steel fitted. The fights took place in a ring, made with chairs, tree trunks etc and measuring about five yards square. The two cocks were first weighed in ‘cock bags’ and introduced about a yard apart. A fight lasted approximately fifteen minutes and there were usually fourteen of these a day. A “Main of Cocks” sometimes lasted a week and invariably one was killed in each fight. Cockfighting usually took place at the Wakes and frequently at race meetings.


Perhaps the most colourful Audlem character was the first Doctor John Bellyse, well known throughout the country as “Cockfighting Bellyse”. Born in 1738 (he died at the Age of 90 in 1829), he came from an old Yorkshire family of which Lord Fauconberg was the head. His father had moved to Frodsham and, before coming to Audlem, the doctor lived at Stretton, near Malpas.


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He was preeminent in Cheshire and was noted for his famous strain of Brown-Red fighting cocks which he bred on a large scale. He once had one of his game cocks stolen and the case was sent for trial;. His bird was produced in court and he was asked to identify it. Directly it saw the doctor, and after he had stroked it, it became perfectly quiet and stood beside him while he gave his evidence. The judge remarked that this was proof enough, the man was convicted and Dr Bellyse returned to Audlem with the bird in triumph. On his arrival the bells of St James rang out in honour of the event.


He was also something of a personality, particularly regarding his dress; this apparent from a description of him taken from the pages of “Silk and Scarlet” on the occasion of Chester Races.


“He wore a blue dress-coat with gilt buttons, light coloured kerseys and gaiters, a buff waistcoat, and a pig tail, just peeing from beneath a conical low-crowned hat, completed his attire; while a golden greyhound, a gift of his friend Lord Combermere, lent a tasteful finish to his snowy frill. He was a walking polyglot on race-horse pedigrees, from the Godolphin Arabian to Memnon. Pre-eminent and assiduous as he was in his profession, his patients had to show a clean bill of health during the Chester race week, or give up the hope of having him. The Stationers Almanac was not truer to the year than his yellow gig with his fourteen-one “Brown Tommy” to the Hop yard at Chester, on the Saturday afternoon.


On the Monday he sallied forth to the Hotel Row, and received a hearty annual welcome from all the lovers of ‘the Turf and the Sod’, to whom, from his quiet worth, and his wonderful memory and information on every point, he had become so endeared. Years wrought no change in the dress. The cockpit began at eleven, and the in-go ended after one; and then before a Grand Stand arose, he was always to be seen stationed on Tommy, in the middle of the Roodee, to watch what horses were doing all round, and armed with a gigantic umbrella. He held the belief that there were “always so many fools on a race course” and hence he kept the umbrella to shoot it our in self defence., in the faces of the young blades as they galloped recklessly across him from the river rails.”


HH Dixon (the Druid) writing in 1859.


His knowledge of racing was confirmed by that great writer Nimrod (Charles James Apperley, born 1778) in an article in the Sporting Magazine regarding the effects of weight. Taking as an example a race at Newcastle under Lyme where four horses, owned by Sir John Egerton, Mr Mytton, Sir William Wynne and Sir Thomas Stanley, resulted in it being impossible to declare a winner in several heats. Nimrod had high praise for the handicapper, ‘the celebrated Dr Bellyse’, for his ‘thorough knowledge of the horses, their ages, and their public running.’


Apart from his love of cockfighting and horses Bellyse was also fond of Coursing. In the well known print “The Waterloo Coursing Meeting” he can be seen on horseback on the extreme right; to be allowed to ride was considered a special favour in those days.


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From Nineteenth Century Audlem by Marjorie Burton, 1873:


Cocking was then the chosen amusement of the race mornings, and no one on this point was so great an authority as Dr Bellyse. He spoke, too, out of the fullness of his strange experience, as he had the privilege of all the walks on the Combermere, Shavington, Adderley, Dodington, Peckforton, Beeston, Oulton and divers other estates in Cheshire, Shropshire and Wales. In some seasons he set up a thousand chickens, of which barely one third would be reared or fit to produce at an important main. After dinner on the Saturday of his arrival at Chester, he gave an audience to his feeder, to sound him as to the conditions of his cocks, and learn his opinion of the forthcoming main, and not infrequently that functionality would arrive with a couple of bags slung over his shoulder, and the pets of his fancy inside.,


During the week he would slip away over and over again from those who wanted to talk to him about weights and watch his own brown-red champions busy in the pens, scratching at a fresh cut sod, or a spadeful of the finest gravel fresh from the bottom of the Dee. He would have a hundred cocks taken up from their walks for Chester, in order that his feeder might select the best and put them in for training from the Thursday week to the Monday when the smaller cocks led off in the five day main. His cocks were mainly duck wings, but latterly he fought more reds, all of them selected from an enormous number of birds, and always of the finest form and daintiest feather.


Eggs, sugar, candy water, hot bread and milk, barley, rice and rhubarb constituted the chief part of the dainty fare upon which Dr Bellyse’s game cocks were regaled when About to do battle for, as it proved in many cases, the last time in their lives. Dr Belyse died in January 1829, so did not live to see the battles royal put to an end by Act of Parliament.



As to John Bellyse the Younger, Audlem, The History of a Cheshire Parish and its five townships, 1997:


The old man’s son, the second Dr Bellyse, inherited his father’s passion for coursing and, before he retired to Dorfield Cottage, always kept greyhounds.


Ther young man’s marriage caused tongues to wag in the district when he eloped with Hannah Baker from Highfields. They went no further than was necessary and were married at Mucklestone Church. The following morning, having read the farewell letter, Richard Baker her father, decided that a visit to the old cockfighter would not go amiss. He found the gentleman reading by the open window and expressed himself with some force on the subject of the good doctor’s son. Bellyse waited for a period of silence before observing “the gander’s as good as the goose, sir” and returned to his book”.


Dr John Bellyse the Younger undertook a post mortem after a gruesome murder at Hankelow on the night of 12 April 1812 (Audlem, The History of a Cheshire Parish and its five townships, 1997)




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(The Crewe chronicle, 10 January 1974)                                                                                                      (Nantwich Chronicle, 9 December 1982)


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(Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel, 25 November 1955)


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(The Hampshire Chronicle, 1 May 1826)


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(Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, 2 July 1826)


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(The Newry Reporter, 31 January 1880)


Richard Baker Bellyse

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(The Standard, 10 February 1837)

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(The Standard, 18 January 1877)

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(The Chronicle, 29 June 1994)