Derived from the Old Norman French 'banestre', itself a development based upon a conjoining of the Gallic 'benna' and the Greek 'kanastron', the surname is a metonymic job description of a 'maker of baskets'. The carpentry term 'bannister' as meaning a protective rail for a stairway was not recorded before the 17th Century, much too late to give rise to a surname. The name development and recording of the surname includes An Banyster, christened at St. Pancras Church, Soper Lane, London on July 18th 1559, Annes Bannester recorded at St. Giles, Cripplegate on July 16th 1606, Annis Banister, who married Thomas Cowlay on 31st January 1561 at St. Margarets, London and Henric Bannister who married Eufamia Hoyle at Elland Church, Yorkshire on November 25th, 1583. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Turstan Banastre, which was dated 1153, in the English Feudal Name Register, during the reign of King Stephen, known as Stephen of Blois, 1135 - 1154. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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