Recorded as Bensen and the more usual Benson, this is an English surname. It is of pre 7th century origins and has two possible sources. Firstly, it maybe a patronymic from the medieval given name "Benne", which is in part a short form of Benedict, from the Latin "Benedictus", meaning blessed, and in part a form of the Old Norse personal name "Bjorn", meaning "bearcub". Benedict owed its popularity to St. Benedict (circa 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. Secondly the surname maybe locational from the village of Benson in Oxfordshire. This is named from the Olde English "Benesingtun", meaning the settlement of Banesa, the latter a personal name of obscure origin, but perhaps a derivative of "Bana", meaning slayer! Over ten coats of arms have been granted to the nameholders; the oldest being a silver field, charged with a black chevron. Henery Benson was one of the very earliest settlers in the American colonies of New England, being listed in the muster of the inhabitants of Virginia in 1624, having arrived on the "Francis Bonaventure" in August 1620. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Benneson. This was dated 1326, in the "Court Rolls" of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 11nd, 1307 - 1327. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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