Show ContentsBainter History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Bainter originated in Cornwall, a region of southwest England that is celebrated in the Arthurian romances of the Middle Ages. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. As the population of Europe burgeoned, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Despite the fact that occupational surnames are rare among the Cornish People, they nevertheless sometimes adopted surnames derived from the type of work they did. The surname Bainter was an occupational name for a painter. Bainter is an occupational surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Occupational surnames were derived from the primary activity of the bearer. In the Middle Ages, people did not generally live off of the fruits of their labor in a particular job. Rather, they performed a specialized task, as well as farming, for subsistence. Other occupational names were derived from an object associated with a particular activity. This type of surname is called a metonymic surname. The surname Bainter comes from the Old English word peintour, which means painter.

Early Origins of the Bainter family

The surname Bainter was first found in Cornwall where "Boskennal and Boskenna both belong to John Paynter, Esq.; but the latter, which formerly belonged to the Carthews, is his place of residence. This family of Paynter, which was originally of Deverel in Gwinear, and afterwards of Trelisick in St. Erth, has been settled here ever since the reign of Charles II." 1

Early History of the Bainter family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bainter research. Another 74 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1540, 1594, 1637 and 1716 are included under the topic Early Bainter History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bainter Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Paynter, Painter and others.

Early Notables of the Bainter family

Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bainter Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bainter Ranking

In the United States, the name Bainter is the 18,349th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 2

Migration of the Bainter family

Early immigration records have shown some of the first Bainters to arrive on North American shores: Rowland Paynter, who came to Virginia in 1619; Edward Paynter, who came to Virginia in 1619; Thomas, Robert and William Paynter all settled in Virginia in 1643.

Contemporary Notables of the name Bainter (post 1700) +

  • Fay Okell Bainter (1893-1968), American Academy Award winning film and stage actress, best known for her award winning role in 6Jezebel (1938)
  • Stan Bainter (b. 1931), American Republican politician, Member of Florida State House of Representatives 25th District, 1987- 3

  1. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 19) . Retrieved from on Facebook