Bannister History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Today's generation of the Bannister family bears a name that was brought to England by the migration wave that was started by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bannister 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 Bannister family

The surname Bannister 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 Bannister family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bannister 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 Bannister History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bannister Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Bannister include Bannister, Banister, Banester, Bannester, Bannaster, Banaster and many more.

Early Notables of the Bannister 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 Bannister Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bannister family to Ireland

Some of the Bannister 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 Bannister migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Bannisters to arrive on North American shores:

Bannister Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Bannister, who arrived in Portland, Maine in 1632 [8]
  • Henry Bannister, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Henry Bannister, aged 22, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [8]
  • William Bannister, who landed in Virginia in 1636 [8]
  • William Bannister, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bannister Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Isaac Bannister, aged 35, who landed in Delaware in 1813 [8]
  • E Bannister, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [8]
  • Mrs. Bannister, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1860 [8]
Bannister Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • John R. Bannister, aged 18, arrived in New York in 1919 aboard the ship "Saxonia" from London, England [9]
  • Frederick C. Bannister, aged 31, originally from Beckton, England, arrived in New York in 1919 aboard the ship "Adriatic" from Southampton, England [10]
  • Therese Bannister, aged 39, originally from Beckton, England, arrived in New York in 1919 aboard the ship "Adriatic" from Southampton, England [11]
  • William Bannister, aged 61, arrived in New York in 1919 aboard the ship "Carmania" from Liverpool, England [12]
  • Thos. Donovan Wood Bannister, aged 27, originally from Stroud, England, arrived in New York in 1919 aboard the ship "Vestris" from Liverpool, England [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Bannister migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bannister Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Bannister U.E. who settled in Sissiboo [Weymouth], Nova Scotia c. 1783 [14]
  • John Bannister of Trinity Bay settled in Newfoundland in 1784 [15]
Bannister Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Bannister owned Fishing Room at Trinity, Newfoundland in 1800 [15]
  • Robin Bannister was a planter of British Harbour, Newfoundland in 1823 [15]

Australia Bannister migration to Australia +

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

Bannister Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Bannister, (Russell), British convict who was convicted in Derby, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, listed as one of the convicts who tried to escape, he later disappeared again in 1820 [16]
  • Miss Elizabeth Bannister who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 20th November 1823, arriving in New South Wales, Australia and Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [17]
  • George Bannister, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [18]
  • Mr. Aaron Bannister, British convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 1st October 1829, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [19]
  • Mr. Benjamin Bannister, English convict who was convicted in Essex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [20]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Bannister migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Bannister Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Edwin Bannister, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Bannister, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Robert Elijah Bannister, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • William Bannister, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • William Bannister, aged 35, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1840
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bannister (post 1700) +

  • Brian Patrick Bannister (b. 1981), American former professional baseball starting pitcher
  • Brown Bannister (b. 1951), American Grammy award winning producer and songwriter
  • Alex Bannister (b. 1979), American former NFL football wide receiver who played from 2001 to 2006
  • Alan Bannister (b. 1951), American former Major League Baseball player who played from 1974 to 1985
  • Edward Mitchell Bannister (1828-1901), African-American painter
  • Alan Bannister MBE (1922-2007), English silver medalist cyclist at the 1948 Summer Olympics
  • John David "Jack" Bannister (1930-2016), English cricket commentator and former first-class cricketer for Warwickshire (1950-1969)
  • Bruce Ian Bannister (b. 1947), English retired professional footballer
  • William "Billy" Bannister (1879-1942), English professional footballer who played from 1899 to 1912, member of the England National Team (1901-1902)
  • Arthur Frederick Bannister (1875-1958), English first class cricketer who played for Worcestershire from 1900 to 1902
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. George S.  Bannister (1857-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [21]
HMS Dorsetshire
  • Robert Bannister (d. 1945), British Stoker 1st Class aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [22]


  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. ^ 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)
  9. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6QQ-S3N : 6 December 2014), John R. Bannister, 21 Dec 1919; citing departure port London, arrival port New York, ship name Saxonia, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  10. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6QQ-TPF : 6 December 2014), Frederick C. Bannister, 28 Dec 1919; citing departure port Southampton, arrival port New York, ship name Adriatic, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  11. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6QQ-TPN : 6 December 2014), Therese Bannister, 28 Dec 1919; citing departure port Southampton, arrival port New York, ship name Adriatic, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  12. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6Q4-D3B : 6 December 2014), William Bannister, 01 Jan 1919; citing departure port Liverpool, arrival port New York, ship name Carmania, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  13. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6QT-7P5 : 6 December 2014), Thos. Donovan Wood Bannister, 20 Mar 1919; citing departure port Liverpool, arrival port New York, ship name Vestris, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  14. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  15. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  16. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/brothers
  18. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  19. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bussorah-merchant
  20. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  21. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  22. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html


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