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Benson Coat of Arms / Benson Family Crest

Benson Coat of Arms / Benson Family Crest

SURNAMES as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. BENSON was a baptismal name 'the son of Bennet', an ancient although now forgotten personal name. This medieval given name owes its popularity in the Middle Ages chiefly to St. Benedict (480-550) who founded the Benedictine order of monks at Monte Cassino and wrote a monastic rule that formed a model for all subsequent rules. No doubt the meaning of the Latin work also contributed to its popularity as a given name, especially in Romance countries in the 12th century. The Latin form of the name is found in England alongside versions derived from the Old French form Beneit, Benoit, which was common among the Normans. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did.Early records mention Germanus Benson, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Benson was the rector of Houghton, County Norfolk, in the year 1559. Mary Benson, daughter of Nathaniel Benson, was baptised at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1611. George Stokes married Agnes Benson at St. Jame's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1611. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884


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last updated on: April 3rd, 2017

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