Last name: BANNISTER

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All you have to know about the last name BANNISTER

Last name frequency

BANNISTER : This last name is indexed 72,896 times on Geneanet!

Origin of last name

BANNISTER : English (of Norman origin): from Old French banaste banastre ‘covering for a cart or wagon; basket’ i.e. a large wicker container. In the 12th century a Norman family of this name had estates in Orne Normandy and in England. Ricardus Banastre appears in charters relating to the Earls of Chester c. 1120–29. With what sense the Norman surname was acquired is unknown. It can hardly have been occupational contrary to Reaney's view that it denoted a basket maker. It is possible that many or even all of the later bearers of the surname were descended from this knightly family. However several men with this surname in the 14th-century Poll Tax Returns are described as servants or agricultural laborers while Ricardus Banastr' recorded in 1381 was a butcher. It is conceivable that these men took their name from Middle English banastre a borrowing of the French word and that it referred to a basket or hamper they used in their work. Alternatively they may have belonged to branches of the knightly family that had fallen in the social scale. The term denoting a stair rail is unconnected with this name; it was not used before the 17th century.

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