Show ContentsBentham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Bentham comes from when the family resided in the West Riding of the county of Yorkshire, where the Bentham family settled near the village of Bentham, from which they took their name. The name is composed of the Old English words beonet, meaning bent grass, and ham, meaning settlement. 1

Early Origins of the Bentham family

The surname Bentham was first found in Yorkshire, where "there is not much reason to doubt that this name is derived from the parish of Bentham, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. " 2 Bentham was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Benetain. 3 Today, Bentham is a civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire and comprises Upper Bentham and Lower Bentham.

Early History of the Bentham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bentham research. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1513, 1560, 1576, 1578, 1579, 1593, 1594, 1671, 1681, 1700 and 1733 are included under the topic Early Bentham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bentham 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 Bentham include Bentham, Bentheim, Benthiem and others.

Early Notables of the Bentham family

Notables of this surname at this time include:

  • Thomas Bentham (1513-1578), English Protestant minister, one of the Marian exiles, who continued secretly ministering to an underground congregation in London, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield (1560-1...
  • Joseph Bentham (1594-1671), the English divine, must, from his age at death (seventy-seven in 1671), have been born in 1593-1594. 4
  • Rev. Samuel Bentham (c.1681-1733), was registrar of Ely Cathedral and vicar of Witchford; and Charles Bentham, was an English shipwright in the early 1700's

United States Bentham 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:

Bentham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Bentham and family settled in South Carolina in 1820

Australia Bentham migration to Australia +

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

Bentham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Amelia Bentham, aged 24, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Shackamaxon" 5
  • William Bentham, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on April 16, 1855, settling in Western Australia 6

West Indies Bentham migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. 7
Bentham Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Matthew Bentham who settled in Barbados in 1679

Contemporary Notables of the name Bentham (post 1700) +

  • Thomas H. Bentham, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Ohio 1st District, 1902, 1906 8
  • Edward Bentham (1707-1776), English Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, born in the college at Ely on 23 July 1707, the son of the Rev. Samuel Bentham and Philippa, formerly Willan, his wife 9
  • Trevor Bentham (b. 1943), English former stage manager and screenwriter
  • Craig Martin Bentham (b. 1985), English football midfielder from Bingley, England
  • William "Billy" Bentham, English professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1920s
  • James Bentham (1709-1794), English clergyman, antiquarian and historian of Ely Cathedral
  • Phil Bentham (b. 1971), English professional rugby league referee
  • Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), English lawyer and philosopher, known as the father of Utilitarianism
  • George Bentham CMG FRS (1800-1884), English botanist, known as "the premier systematic botanist of the nineteenth century"
  • Lee Bentham (b. 1970), Canadian former racing driver from Richmond Hill, Ontario
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Miss Lillian W. Bentham, aged 19, American Second Class passenger from Rochester, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 12 10

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. South Australian Register Thursday 20 January 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SHACKAMAXON 1853. Retrieved
  6. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Western Australia, Australia in 1855 with 261 passengers. Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from
  9. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 14 June. 2019
  10. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook