Benchley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The Benchley family name is linked to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from the English personal name Bennett. That name is derived from the medieval name Benedict, which comes from the Latin Benedictus, meaning blessed. It owed much of its popularity to St. Benedict, who remained famous well into the Middle Ages.
Early Origins of the Benchley family
The surname Benchley was first found in Yorkshire where Ernisius filius Bence was first listed the Pipe Rolls of 1175. Three years later, Aernulfus flius Benze was listed in the the Pipe Rolls of Northumberland in 1178. 
Osmund Benz was lord of six estates in Nottinghamshire in 1066 at the time of the Conquest. By the Domesday Book of 1086, his estates had been reduce to two, both still in Nottinghamshire. 
There may be a Norman connection as sources there show Robert and William Bence there (1180-1198)  The Hundredorum Rolls of 1279 list William Bence. 
"Kentwell Hall [in Long Melford, Suffolk], the residence of the family of Bence, is a venerable structure in the ancient domestic style, and contains much old painted glass." 
Early History of the Benchley family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Benchley research. Another 57 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1622, 1688, 1659, 1676 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Benchley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Benchley 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 Benchley include Bence, Bense, Benche, Bencke, Bench, Benchley and others.
Early Notables of the Benchley family (pre 1700)
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Benchley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Benchley migration to the United States +
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 Benchley were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:
Benchley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- L. B. Benchley settled in San Francisco, California in 1850
- H Benchley, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 
Contemporary Notables of the name Benchley (post 1700) +
- Peter Benchley (1940-2006), American novelist who wrote "Jaws"
- Robert Charles Benchley (1889-1945), American drama critic, essayist, humorist, actor and screenwriter
- Nathaniel Benchley (1915-1981), American author
- Nat Benchley, American actor
- Henry Wetherby Benchley (1822-1867), American politician
- E. K. Benchley, American politician, Mayor of Fullerton, California, 1906-08
Related Stories +
The Benchley Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Virtus castellum meum
Motto Translation: Virtue my castle.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ 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)