Recorded in many spelling forms including Benet, Benett, Bennett, Benett, Benit, Bennit (England), Benech, Benet, Beneix, and Bene (France), Beneze, Benezi, and Benezit (Italy) and many, many, more, this is a surname of Roman origins. It derives from the pre medieval given names Benoit, Beneit and Benedict, all from the ancient Latin word and name "Benedictus," meaning blessed. This name owed its original popularity to the famous St. Benedict (circa 480 - 550), who founded the Benedictine order of monks at Monte Cassino in Italy. He also wrote the monastic rules that formed the model for all subsequent orders. The first charter recordings of the surname in its various spellings are to be found in England, since this was the country which preceeded all others in developing central records. These show surname development from about the 13th century. Early examples of these recordings include: Robert Benyet of the city of Lincoln in about 1154, William Benet, in the charter rolls of County Durham in 1208, and Thomas Benetes in the Subsidary Rolls of Staffordshire in the year 1327. Later examples include the christening of Dennys Bennett on June 15th 1567 at St. Mary at Hill, and that of Thomas Bennit on December 1st 1583 at St. John's, Hackney, both city of London, England. A John Bennett was an early emigrant to the New World. He is recorded as sailing in the ship "Plaine Joan of London" on May 15th 1635, bound for the colony of Virginia. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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