This ancient surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it is a patronymic from the medieval given name "Benne", which is in part a short form of Benedict, which in turn is from the Latin "Benedictus", meaning blessed, and in part a form of the Old Norse personal name "Bjorn", meaning "bearcub, warrior". The personal name 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, it is locational from Benson in Oxfordshire, so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Benesingtun", "settlement associated with Banesa", from a personal name of obscure origin, perhaps a derivative of "Bana", slayer, and the Olde English "tun", settlement.Over ten Coats of Arms were granted to Benson families; the oldest is silver on a black chevron three crossed formee gold, the Crest being the sun surrounded by a rainbow, each end issuing out of the clouds all proper. One Henery Benson was one of the earliest namebearers to settle in the American colonies; he is listed in a "Muster of the Inhabitants in 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, which was dated 1326, in the "Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield", Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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