Banfill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Banfill belongs to the early history of Britain, it's origins lie with the Anglo-Saxons. It is a product of their having lived in one of two villages called Bamfyld in the counties of Devon and Somerset. The place names literally mean "dweller at a field where beans grew." [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Banfill family

The surname Banfill was first found in Devon, at Poltimore where John Baumfield was the original ancestor of this family having been granted lands there during the reign of Edward I. His pedigree can be traced for three generations before that period. [3] The family were bequeathed the manor of Poltimore in 1298 by William Pontyngton, Canon of Exeter Cathedral. Today Poltimore House is a 18th-century country house having gone through many changes from the original grant. The current iteration of Poltimore House was built by Richard Bampfylde (d.1595) about 1550 or so.

Banwell is a village and civil parish on the River Banwell in the North Somerset and dates back to Saxon times when it was first listed as Bananwylle in 904. [4]

By the time the Domesday Book of 1086, the place name has evolved to being known as Banwelle. [5] "The manor has been in the possession of the bishops of Bath and Wells since the time of Edward the Confessor. A monastery was founded at Banwell by one of the early Saxon kings, to the abbacy of which Alfred the Great appointed Asser." [6]

"The Bampfyldes have been settled at Poltimore, [East Devon] since the reign of Edward I., and entered the ranks of the baronetage in 1641. Sir John Bampfylde became for a time Governor on behalf of the Parliament of the town of Plymouth, and his son, Sir Copleston Bampfylde, took a leading part in the restoration of Charles II. The family were raised to the peerage as Barons Poltimore in 1831. Among the houses with which the Bampfyldes are allied, or whom they represent, are Pederton, St. Maure, Copleston, Codrington, and Gorges. " [7]

Early English rolls provide us a glimpse of the spelling variations used through Medieval times. Today we typically need to look beyond the spellings of these entries and concentrate on on a phonetic appreciation of the names. Richard de Bamfeld was found in Hertfordshire in 1272 and Thomas Bamfeld was found here in 1462. Matthew Bampfeld was listed in the Feet of Fines for Essex in 1492 and laster, John Bampfyld was registered in Devon in 1642. [8]

Early History of the Banfill family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Banfill research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1272, 1462, 1492, 1575, 1581, 1582, 1642, 1752, 1766, 1560, 1626, 1597, 1585, 1621, 1622, 1628, 1629, 1683, 1633, 1692, 1659, 1671, 1679, 1685, 1679 and 1658 are included under the topic Early Banfill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Banfill Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Banfill include Bamfield, Bammfield, Bramfield, Bamfeld, Bampfeld, Bampfield, Banfilde, Bampfild, Bampfyld, Bamfeild, Banfield and many more.

Early Notables of the Banfill family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Richard de Bamfield, a prominent 13th century landholder in Hertfordshire; Sir Amyas Bampfylde (1560-1626), an English Member of Parliament, Member of Parliament for Devon (1597); his son, John Bampfield (born ca. 1585), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Tiverton (1621-1622) and Devon (1628-1629) with Sir Francis Drake; and...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Banfill Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Banfill family

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Banfill were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: John Bampfield, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1798.


Contemporary Notables of the name Banfill (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General Charles Yawkey Banfill (1897-1965), American Commandant of Armed Forces Staff College (1947-1950) [9]


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  5. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  6. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  7. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  8. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  9. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 6) Charles Banfill. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Banfill/Charles_Yawkey/USA.html


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