Show ContentsBensley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Bensley is a name that was brought to England by the ancestors of the Bensley family when they migrated to the region after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Bensley 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 Bensley family

The surname Bensley 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. [1]

Early History of the Bensley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bensley research. Another 36 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 154 and 1548 are included under the topic Early Bensley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bensley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Bensley have been found, including Bensley, Bensely, Benseley, Benesle, Bensle, Benslie, Benslee, Benisly, Benslow, Beanslie, Binslie and many more.

Early Notables of the Bensley family (pre 1700)

Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bensley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bensley migration to the United States +

For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Bensley were among those contributors:

Bensley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Bensley, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1638 [2]
Bensley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Clement Bensley who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1813

Australia Bensley migration to Australia +

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

Bensley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Bensley 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:

Bensley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Christopher Bensley, Cornish settler travelling from Launceston aboard the ship "Halcyon" arriving in New Zealand in 1852 [4]
  • George Bensley, aged 25, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Bensley (post 1700) +

  • William E. Bensley, American Republican politician, Delegate to New York State Constitutional Convention at-large, 1967 [5]
  • Jackson H. Bensley, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives 104th District, 1974 [5]
  • Christopher Bensley (1789-1868), English prebendary and canon of Worcester, master of the Temple [6]
  • Thomas Bensley (d. 1833), English printer, known by his own productions and by certain mechanical adjustment who held offices in Bolt Court [6]
  • Robert Bensley (1740-1817), English actor, nephew of Sir William Bensley, said to have been a lieutenant of marines, and in that capacity is believed to have seen active service in America [6]
  • Sir William Bensley (1737-1809), 1st Baronet of Saint Marylebone, English Director of the Honourable East India Company
  • Harry Bensley (1876-1956), English rake and adventurer
  • P.A. Bensley, Australian master carpenter at Mawson Station, 1965, eponym Mount Bensley, Antarctica
  • Peter Bensley (b. 1954), Australian actor

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. 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)
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th September 2021). Retrieved from
  4. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 14) . Retrieved from
  6. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 14 June. 2019 on Facebook