Banistre History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 added many new elements to an already vibrant culture. Among these were thousands of new names. The Banistre 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. 
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." 
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. " 
Early Origins of the Banistre family
The surname Banistre 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." 
"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." 
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. " 
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." 
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."  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." 
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.' " 
"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.' " 
"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." 
Early History of the Banistre family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Banistre 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 Banistre History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Banistre Spelling Variations
Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval 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. The name has been spelled Bannister, Banister, Banester, Bannester, Bannaster, Banaster and many more.
Early Notables of the Banistre 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. 
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 Banistre Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Banistre family to Ireland
Some of the Banistre 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.
Migration of the Banistre family
Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Banistre or a variant listed above: John Banister who settled in Virginia in 1636; Thomas Banister who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1685; Cornelia Bannister who settled in Barbados in 1669.
Related Stories +
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
- ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- ^ '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].
- ^ 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