Banister History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Banister is a name whose history on English soil dates back to the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066. The Banister family lived in Lancashire, were they held lands and properties since the Norman Conquest in 1066. The name was also derived from the Old French term balestier which was transformed into arbalester which was an occupational name for a cross-bowman. [1]

Literally the name was also derived from balister which meant a baluster or staircase. Alternatively, the name was perhaps originally Bainster, one who kept a bath; from Old English and Old French 'bain,' a bath." [2]

And another source presumes the name "was probably a title of office, which Latinizes as Balneator. The derivation is not improbable, as we find an ancient coat assigned to the name in one of the Lancashire visitations, with the principal charge a water bouget. " [3]

Early Origins of the Banister family

The surname Banister was first found in Lancashire, at Walton-le-Dale, a township and chapelry, in the parish, and Lower division of the hundred, of Blackburn, union of Preston. "The manor was granted by the first Henry de Lacy, probably about 1130, to Robert Banastre, from whose family it passed in marriage to the Langtons." [4]

"A pedigree of the chief line of this family, from its founder down to the time of Edward I., has been preserved in a petition on the rolls of parliament. It appears from this document and other historical evidence, that Robert Banastre who came over with King William, held the lordship of Prestatyn, one of the hundreds of Flintshire, under Robert of Rhudlan (de Rodelent), a kinsman of the Conqueror. Here a tower was built on the coast, whereof the foundations are still discoverable. It was destroyed by the Welsh in the time of Henry II., when they regained possession of that district. At this time Robert, the son of Robert Banastre, withdrew with all his people into Lancashire." [3]

Alard Banastre ( fl. 1174), was Sheriff of Oxfordshire under Henry II in 1174 and 1176. "The Sheriff of Oxfordshire for the four years preceding 1174 was one, Adam Banastre, who may have been the father of Alard Banastre. " [5]

Aughton, Lancashire was "supposed to have been granted to Thurstan Banastre about the middle of the twelfth century, and to have been carried by Margery his daughter to Richard son of Roger de Lytham, who died in or about 1201, leaving five daughters his co-heirs." [6]

Another branch was found in Welsh Whittle, again in Lancashire. "This township, under the name of Walsewythull, was held of the earls of Lincoln by the Banastre family in the reign of Henry III." [4] Altham, again in Lancashire was an important family seat. "Under the name of Elvetham, the manor [of Altham] was granted by the first Henry de Lacy to Hugo, a Saxon: John de Alvetham, Hugo's descendant, left an heiress who married into the Banastre family, and thus sprang the Banastres of Altham, who occupied the manor-house for five centuries." [4]

Again in Lancashire, Billisborrow or Billsborough was another family seat. "The family of Billisburgh was early seated here, and in the reign of Edward II. the Banasters are mentioned as holding lands in 'Billesworth.' " [4]

"The family was very numerous elsewhere in England. In Shropshire, Richard Banastre 'was Lord of Munslow and Aston-Munslow in 1115, holding the same in capite under Henry I., and standing high in provincial importance. I think however that Richard Banastre was a greater man in Cheshire than in Shropshire. A deed of Richard, Earl of Chester, and the Countess Ermentrude, his mother, of the date of 1106, names Richard Banastre as one of the Barons of Cheshire: and in 1128 he is a prominent witness to a charter of Robert de Meschines.' " [7]

"The Banastres also continued in Cheshire, where they have left their name to Mollington-Banastre, near Chester. Redacre Hall, in the parish of Prestbury, was their residence in the seventeenth century; and mention is made of a contemporary Hugh Banaster of Riding. Sulhamstead-Bannister, in Berkshire, commemorates another line of collaterals, of whom three were Sheriffs of the county; Alan Banastre, in 1169; Alard, in 1173, and Thomas, in 1203. One of the early Knights of the Garter is derived by Beltz, in his Memorials of the Order, from Englefield in Berkshire. Again, there were Banastres seated at Gnosall in Staffordshire." [7]

Early History of the Banister family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Banister research. Another 84 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1149, 1400, 1487, 1533, 1610, 1578, 1607, 1626, 1624, 1679, 1654, 1692, 1721 and 1713 are included under the topic Early Banister History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Banister Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Bannister, Banister, Banester, Bannester, Bannaster, Banaster and many more.

Early Notables of the Banister family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Gilbert Anastre, Banester or Banister (d. 1487), an early poet and musician, probably belonged to the Yorkshire family of that name, and may have been educated at Bardney Abbey, Lincolnshire, where in later life he held a corrody. [5] John Banister or Banester (1533-1610), was an English anatomist, surgeon and teacher who published "The Historie of Man, from the most approved Authorities in this...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Banister Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Banister Ranking

In the United States, the name Banister is the 7,231st most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Banister family to Ireland

Some of the Banister family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Banister migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Banister or a variant listed above:

Banister Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Banister, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [9]
  • Stephen Banister, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [9]
  • John Banister who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • William Banister, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [9]
  • William Banister, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Banister Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Banister, who landed in New England in 1716 [9]
  • Madam Banister, who landed in New England in 1716 [9]
Banister Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Aaron Banister, who arrived in Maryland in 1828 [9]
  • John Banister, who landed in Maryland in 1828 [9]
  • James Banister, who arrived in New York in 1840 [9]

Australia Banister migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Banister Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Banister, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Brankenmore" in 1846 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Banister (post 1700) +

  • Zilpah Polly Grant Banister (1794-1874), American educator
  • Scott Banister (b. 1975), American entrepreneur and angel investor
  • Jeffery Todd Banister (b. 1965), American former professional baseball player
  • John Riley Banister (1854-1918), American law officer and Texas Ranger
  • William Guy Banister (1900-1964), American career member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Henry R. Banister, American politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives from Thomas County, 1935-36 [11]
  • Gaston D. Banister (b. 1828), American Republican politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 10th District, 1891-92 [11]
  • Emory Banister, American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster at Worcester, Massachusetts, 1854-61 [11]
  • Edward O. Banister, American politician, Representative from New York 30th District, 1900 [11]
  • Diana Banister, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Virginia, 2008 [11]
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Norman Casson Banister, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [12]


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  3. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. ^ 'Townships: Scarisbrick', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, ed. William Farrer and J Brownbill (London, 1907), pp. 265-276. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol3/pp265-276 [accessed 21 January 2017].
  7. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  8. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  9. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BRANKENMORE 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846Brankenmoor.gif
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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