This interesting and unusual surname is of northern English locational origin from a place thus called in Cumberland. Recorded variously as Blendherseta and Blennerheiseta in the 1188 Pipe Rolls of that county, and as Blenerheyset in the 1235 Fine Court Rolls, the place was so named from the Old British elements "blaen", hill or top, plus "dre", a farm or settlement. ("British", in this case, refers to the extinct Celtic language of the ancient Britons). Later, the Old Norse element "heysaetr", hay shieling, was added to the name. Members of this family have represented Carisle in Parliament from the reign of Richard 11, (1377-1399). Early recordings of the surname include Thomas Blennerhasset of Carlisle (1398), and Henry Blanerhasset - "The Register of the Freemen of York City", (1495). Sir Edward Blennerhassett was a leading undertaker in the Plantation of Ulster, and a family of the name became established in Co. Kerry towards the end of Elizabeth 1's reign. In 1878, they held over 12,621 acres in Ballyseedy near Tralee, and their Coat of Arms is red with an ermine chevron between three silver dolphins. A sitting wolf is on the crest, and the motto "Fortes fortuna juvat" translates as "Fortune favours the bold". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Blenerhayset, mayor of Carlisle, which was dated 1382, "Cumberland County Records", during the reign of King Richard 11, "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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