Show ContentsBenham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Benham surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived in Norfolk.

However, one source notes the name was originally Welsh "derived from the name of an ancestor. —Ab-Eignon' (Welsh), i.e. 'the son of Eignon' or 'Ennion.' Robert ap Eignon had for his son Robert Baynham, of Chorewall, in the forest of Dean. Henceforward the family were so known. The name looks wonderfully English and local, but, as shown, is not so." [1]

Early Origins of the Benham family

The surname Benham was first found in the county of Norfolk. Baynham Hall is a 17th century manor house located in Michaelchurch-On-Arrow, Gladestry, Powys, Wales. We do know that Hugh Lloyd purchased Baynham Hall in about 1830, but as far as who originally had the manor house built remains a mystery.

John Bankyn or Banekyne (fl. 1382), was an "Augustinian friar and opponent of Wycliffe, born in London and educated in the Augustinian monastery of that city and afterwards at Oxford, where he attained the degree of doctor of divinity. " [2]

Hugh Benham or Hugo Benhyem (d. 1282), was Bishop of Aberdeen and succeeded Richard Pottock in the see in 1272. [2]

Cadugan ap Eynon was listed in Cheshire in 1285 and later Iorworth ap Egnon was listed in the Assize Rolls for 1287. [3]

Early History of the Benham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Benham research. Another 212 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1476, 1501, 1738, 1760, 1458, 1514, 1500, 1557, 1532, 1497, 1501, 1516, 1532, 1546, 1543, 1536, 1611, 1582, 1602, 1628, 1606, 1664, 1629, 1681, 1565 and 1593 are included under the topic Early Benham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Benham Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Benham include Baynham, Bayneham, Bainham, Banham, Banam and others.

Early Notables of the Benham family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Thomas Baynham (d. 1500), Constable of St Briavel's Castle. His descendant, Sir Christopher Baynham (d.1557) was the first of the family to hold Clearwell, a village and former ancient manor in the Forest of Dean, West Gloucestershire. James Bainham (d. 1532), was an English martyr, who according to Foxe, was a son of Sir Alexander Bainham, who was Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1497, 1501, and 1516, though his name does not occur in any of the pedigrees of the family. James was sentenced as a relapsed heretic and burned in Smithfield on 30 April...
Another 106 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Benham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Benham Ranking

In the United States, the name Benham is the 5,377th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Benham family to Ireland

Some of the Benham 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 Benham migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Benham Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Benham, who sailed from Isle of Wright arriving in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630 aboard the ship "Ambrose" as part of the Winthrop Fleet settled in Boston [5]
  • Mr. Anan Benham, (Bennan), who left England and arrived in Maryland in 1634 aboard the ship "Ark and Dove" [5]
  • Temperance Benham, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [5]
Benham Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mathew Benham, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [5]
Benham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Benham, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [5]
  • Watson R Benham, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • J Benham, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • Mr. Benham, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [5]
  • Christina Benham, who landed in America in 1860 [5]

Australia Benham migration to Australia +

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

Benham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Benham, a carpenter, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Jane Benham, aged 19 who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Florentia" in 1849 [6]
  • Henry Benham, English Convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Aboukir" on December 24, 1851, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]

New Zealand Benham 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:

Benham Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Benham, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1863 [8]
  • Mr. William Benham, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Gertrude" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 9th February 1863 [9]
  • Miss Ellen Benham, (b. 1838), aged 28, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 5th January 1867 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Benham (post 1700) +

  • Captain Robert Benham (1750-1809), New Jersey-born, American frontier pioneer who served in local government and was a member of the first elected legislature for the State in Ohio, 1799 & 1800
  • Isabel H. Benham (1909-2013), American railroad finance expert, the first female partner at any Wall Street bond house
  • Henry Washington Benham (1813-1884), American general and civil engineer who served in the Union Army during the American Civil War
  • Philip "Flip" Benham (b. 1948), American Evangelical Christian minister and the national leader of Operation Save America
  • Elsa Benham (b. 1908), American actress
  • Andrew Ellicot Kennedy Benham (1832-1905), American admiral, eponym of the Benham (DD-49), an Aylwin-class destroyer and two other destroyers
  • Robert Benham (b. 1946), first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court of Georgia
  • George C. Benham, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Louisiana, 1868 [10]
  • Frost L. Benham, American Republican politician, Member of Arizona State House of Representatives, 1929-31 [10]
  • Calhoun Benham, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, 1850-53, 1860-61 [10]
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Frederick Benham (d. 1912), aged 29, English Second Class Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [11]

  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. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FLORENTIA 1849. Retrieved from
  7. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 18) Aboukir voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island. [These convicts appear to have all landed in Van Diemen's Land], Australia in 1851 with 280 passengers. Retrieved from
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 12th December 2018). Retrieved from
  9. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 1) . Retrieved from
  11. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook