Benislay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Benislay reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Benislay family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Benislay family lived in Norfolk and Suffolk. The name is derived from an Old Norse phrase which means an area where beans were grown.
Early Origins of the Benislay family
The surname BenIslay was first found in Norfolk and Suffolk, where they had been granted lands by King William after the Norman Conquest in 1066. They are descended from Benzelius, Archbishop of Upsal in the Viking kingdom of Sweden. Benzelinus accompanied William Conqueror into England. There are now 28 different forms of spelling of this name. 
Early History of the Benislay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Benislay research. Another 36 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 154 and 1548 are included under the topic Early Benislay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Benislay Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Bensley, Bensely, Benseley, Benesle, Bensle, Benslie, Benslee, Benisly, Benslow, Beanslie, Binslie and many more.
Early Notables of the Benislay family (pre 1700)
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Benislay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the BenIslay family
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Benislay name or one of its variants: Clement Bensley who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1813; John Bensle settled in Philadelphia in 1751.