Bennetts History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Bennetts surname is derived from the Latin given name Benedictus, which means "blessed." It became a common given name throughout Europe due to the popularity of St. Benedict (c.480-550). By the 12th century, the name was found in versions derived directly from the Latin, as well as versions derived from Norman French. [1] "In the reigns of Edwards II. and III. the name is found thus modified: Fitz Benedict, Benediscite, Bendiste, Bendish, Bennett." [1]

Early Origins of the Bennetts family

The surname Bennetts was first found in north Lancashire where a Benedictine monastery known as Furness Abbey was by founded by the Savigny monks of Normandy in 1127. Records from the 12th century show Benet as a common Baptismal name in the region, which then became a patronymic surname (Eg. Benet son of Alan). [2]

There were other Benedictine monasteries in England, which also produced early instances of this surname. Magister Benet or Benedictus (d. 1226), Bishop of Rochester, "first emerges into history in connection with the struggle between William de Longchamp, bishop of Ely, chancellor and chief justice, and regent of the kingdom during the absence of Richard I in the Holy Land, and the Earl of Moreton, afterwards King John." [3]

Willaston in Cheshire was home the family at early times. "Willaston Hall, an ancient brick building, was erected by the Bennett family in 1558, and continued to be their residence until a very late period." [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list many early spellings of the name throughout ancient England: Benedict, or Benett de Hankeston in Cambridgeshire; Beneyt Mercator in Cambridgeshire; Nicholas Beneit in Oxfordshire; and finally, Reginald filius Beneyt in Huntingdonshire. [2] The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed only one: Joanna Benet, doghter (daughter.)

Another source gives a better geographical understanding of the name: "Differently derived from the early personal name of Benedict and from 'benet,' a minor order of priests. In the Hundred Rolls for Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire, in the reign of Edward I, it occurs frequently in the form of Beneyt. At present it is rare or absent north of Lincolnshire and Lancashire, but is well dispersed over the rest of England, being best represented in Cornwall, Derbyshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Notts, etc. It is singular that Bennetts is for the most part confined to Cornwall, the combination of the two varieties of the name placing this county at the head of the list." [5] This latter source was published in 1890 so the reader needs to bear that in mind that the regional distribution was at that time and has likely changed in today's era.

Early History of the Bennetts family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bennetts research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1208, 1301, 1327, 1327, 1594, 1603, 1604, 1652, 1597, 1667, 1631, 1693, 1673, 1701, 1609, 1675, 1605, 1683, 1653, 1618, 1685, 1628, 1663, 1660, 1663, 1616, 1695, 1661, 1250 and are included under the topic Early Bennetts History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bennetts Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Bennetts has been recorded under many different variations, including Bennett, Bennet, Benett, Benet and others.

Early Notables of the Bennetts family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Thomas Bennett, Sheriff of London in 1594, and Lord Mayor (1603-1604); when he was knighted, he purchased the manor of Beachampton in Berkshire; W. Benett, Mayor of Chester in 1652; Sir Thomas Bennet, 1st Baronet (c. 1597-1667); Sir Levinus Bennet, 2nd Baronet (1631-1693); Sir Richard Bennet, 3rd Baronet (1673-1701); Richard Bennett (1609-1675), an English Governor of the Colony of Virginia, born in...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bennetts Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bennetts family to Ireland

Some of the Bennetts family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 125 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bennetts migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Bennetts or a variant listed above:

Bennetts Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Louedy Bennetts, who landed in New York in 1832 [6]

Australia Bennetts migration to Australia +

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

Bennetts Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Bennetts, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Theresa" in 1847 [7]
  • Richard Udy Bennetts, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constance" in 1848 [8]
  • Matthew Bennetts, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Princess Royal" in 1848 [9]
  • Thomas Bennetts, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Princess Royal" in 1848 [9]
  • Mr. James Bennetts, (b. 1825), aged 24, Cornish carpenter from St. Just, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Julindur" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 4th April 1849 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Bennetts 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:

Bennetts Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Celia Ann Bennetts, (b.1848), aged 14, Cornish settler departing on 3rd February 1862 aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 23rd May 1862 [11]
  • Mr. Edward Bennetts, (b.1823), aged 39, Cornish settler departing on 3rd February 1862 aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 23rd May 1862 [11]
  • Mr. Edward John Bennetts, (b. 1853), aged 9, Cornish settler departing on 3rd February 1862 aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 23rd May 1862" [11]
  • Mrs. Jane Bennetts, (b. 1825), aged 37, Cornish settler departing on 3rd February 1862 aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 23rd May 1862" [11]
  • Miss Jane Bennetts, (b. 1851), aged 11, Cornish settler departing on 3rd February 1862 aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 23rd May 1862" [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bennetts (post 1700) +

  • John G. Bennetts, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State Senate 32nd District, 1948 [12]
  • Frederick B. Bennetts, American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 14th District, 1890; Socialist Labor Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York, 1896 [12]
  • Fred Bennetts, American politician, Delegate to Socialist National Convention from New York, 1920; Candidate for New York State Assembly from Westchester County 5th District, 1928, 1935 [12]
  • Annie Bennetts, American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Westchester County 5th District, 1923 [12]
  • Colin James Bennetts (1940-2013), British Anglican bishop, Bishop of Coventry (1998-2008), Bishop of Buckingham (1994–1998)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Leslie Arthur Bennetts, British Plumber 4th Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [13]


The Bennetts 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: De bon vouloir servir le roy
Motto Translation: To serve the king with right good will.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) THERESA 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847Theresa.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CONSTANCE - 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Constance.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PRINCESS ROYAL 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848PrincessRoyal.htm
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, May 30). Ships' Passenger Lists of Arrivals in New South Wales on (1828 - 1842, 1848 - 1849) [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1838_on.pdf
  11. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 14) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  13. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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