This uncommon surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from Long Benton or Little Benton in Northumberland, or from the hamlet of Benton, near Bratton Fleming in Devonshire. The Northumberland villages, recorded as "Bentune" circa 1190, and respectively as "Magna Beneton" and "Parva Bentona" in the Feet of Fines for the county, dated 1236 and 1256, have as their initial element either the Olde English pre 7th Century "bean", beans (a collective singular), or the Olde English "beonet", bent grass, with "tun", enclosure, settlement. Benton in Devonshire is most likely named with the same elements. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. On April 20th 1549, Rafe Benton and Elyzabeth Buxston were married at Christ Church, Greyfriars Newgate, London, and on July 13th 1581, the marriage of Margaret Benton to Robert Carrocke took place at Hexham, Northumberland. Robert Benton, aged 18 yrs., who embarked from London on the ship "Primrose" bound for Virginia in July 1635, was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to settle in the New World. A Coat of Arms granted to the Benton family is a gold shield with an azure lion rampant, fretty silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Willms Benntine, which was dated February 29th 1548, christened at Thwaites, Cumberland, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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.