Benney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The forefathers of the Benney family were Viking settlers who came to Scotland in the Middle Ages. Many places were named by these Norsemen, and the Benney surname was taken on from one of these place names, when someone lived at Bennie, near the village of Braco in the parish of Logi-Almond in Perthshire. [1]

One noted author claims the family was originally Norman from "Beaunay, the fief so named in Normandy. John de Beaunay is mentioned by Orderic at the battle of Mortemer in 1055; and in 1080 Bernard de Beaunay, with Robert Malet and other Norman lords, witnessed a deed of William de Ros, third Abbot of Fecamp." [2]

Early Origins of the Benney family

The surname Benney was first found in Cumberland and Westmorland. The move of many of the family from northern England to Scotland is not documented. But we do know that "Hugh de Benne or Bennef witnessed charters by Gilchrist, earl of Angus, c. 1201-7. Hugh filius Hugonis de Benne witnessed a charter by Vmfridus de Berkelay to the Abbey of Arnbroath c. 1204-11, and as de Benne or Bennef attested a charter by William filius Bernardi." [1]

Back in northern England, Yorkshire is of particular note. There we find Ralph Benny in the Subsidy Rolls of 1301 [3] and later Johannes Benny was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [4]

Jordan de Belnai, in 1165, held two fees of Earl Walter Giffard, in Buckinghamshire [5] and Hugh de Belne, according to the Testa de Nevill, held Belne, in Worcestershire, of the Baron of Dudley. [2]

Early History of the Benney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Benney research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1321, 1399, 1498, 1522, 1600, 1607 and 1800 are included under the topic Early Benney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Benney Spelling Variations

Sound and intuition were the main things that scribes in the Middle Ages relied on when spelling and translating names. Since those factors varied, so did the spelling of the names. Spelling variations of the name Benney include Benny, Beny, Bennie, Bennee, Benne, Beney, Benney and others.

Early Notables of the Benney family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Benney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Benney migration to the United States +

In North America, the monarchy was thousands of miles away and Scots were free to settle on their own land and practice their own beliefs. The American War of Independence provided an opportunity for these settlers to pay back the English monarchy and forge a new nation. Recently, this heritage has survived through North American highland games and Clan societies. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name Benney or a variant listed above:

Benney Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Benney, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1795 [6]
Benney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Stephen Benney, who settled in New York in 1822
  • Alexander Benney, who arrived in New York in 1825 [6]
  • William M. Benney, aged 33, originally from London, arrived in New York in 1892 aboard the ship "Wyoming" from Liverpool, England [7]
Benney Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Richard Benney, aged 23, originally from Glenroth, England, arrived in New York in 1907 aboard the ship "Oceanic" from Liverpool, England [8]
  • George Benney, aged 52, originally from Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, arrived in New York in 1920 aboard the ship "Orita" from Port Stanley [9]
  • J.W. Benney, aged 48, arrived in New York in 1920 aboard the ship "Grelorm" from Saint Nazaire, France [10]

Australia Benney migration to Australia +

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

Benney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Benney, aged 23, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Navarino" [11]
  • Miss Matilda Benney, (b. 1837), aged 18, Cornish needlewoman, from Chasewater, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Lord Hungerford" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 20th March 1855 [12]
  • Miss Matilda Benney, (b. 1838), aged 18, Cornish parlour maid, from travelling aboard the ship "Winifred" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 1st November 1856 [12]
  • Mr. Louis Benney, (b. 1853), aged 25, Cornish farm labourer travelling aboard the ship "Hawkesbury" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 18th September 1878 [13]

Contemporary Notables of the name Benney (post 1700) +

  • Gerald Benney CBE, British silver and goldsmith
  • Paul Benney (b. 1959), English self-taught painter; his work is held in the 20th century collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum and The National Portrait Gallery, London
  • David John Benney (1930-2015), New Zealand applied mathematician, known for work on the nonlinear partial differential equations of fluid dynamics

HMS Royal Oak
  • Charles E. Benney (1902-1939), British Electrical Artificer 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [14]


The Benney 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: Virtute et opera
Motto Translation: By virtue and energy.


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)
  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. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6R7-LMK : 6 December 2014), Wm. M. Benney, 26 Sep 1892; citing departure port Liverpool, arrival port New York, ship name Wyoming, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  8. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JXFS-X3L : 6 December 2014), Richard Benney, 21 Mar 1907; citing departure port Liverpool, arrival port New York, ship name Oceanic, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  9. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J68S-CWR : 6 December 2014), George Benney, 04 Oct 1920; citing departure port Port Stanley, arrival port New York, ship name Orita, 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:J6DW-B23 : 6 December 2014), J.W. Benney, 08 May 1920; citing departure port Saint Nazaire, France, arrival port New York, ship name Grelorm, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  11. ^ South Australian Register Monday 14th August 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Navarino 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/navarino1854.shtml.
  12. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1850_59.pdf
  13. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 19). Emigrants to Australia NSW 1860 -88 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/nsw_passenger_lists_1860_88.pdf
  14. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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