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Spelling variations of the name include Bayntun, Baynton, Bainton, de Beinton and to a lesser extent Benton. The name is toponymic from the following locations: a Yorkshire village called Bainton which lies at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds; a parish in Northampton; a parish in Oxfordshire; a tything in the parish of Edgrington, Wiltshire, also found in Northumberland.
Baynton is a manor in the parish of Edington, Wiltshire, where there is still a hamlet perpetuating the name, which in Old English means Baega's homestead. Edington is in the western part of the country, about four miles east of Westbury, once a borough and market town of some importance. It is probable that the Baynton family originated in this manor.
The story of the Bayntuns and their descendants begins at the time of Henry II and spans more than 850 years. The family were of an ancient race and were very well respected in their native Wiltshire. They accumulated a tremendous amount of wealth through many judicious marriages in medieval times and during the reign of Henry VIII they increased their wealth by acquiring a great deal of monastic land. Their exploits for and against the monarchy are recorded in history and they established themselves as one of the leading landowners in the county over successive centuries.
The first of this line was Sir Henry Bayntun, Knight Marshall of the Household to King Henry II before 1189 and descends through a direct line in each generation to the last of the male heirs John Bayntun (1688 - 1716) the 19th in lineal descent from Sir Henry. However the early generations of the Bayntun family are not accurate. John died in 1716 without a son and heir and subsequently his sister, Ann, became the first Bayntun heiress. She was married at the time to Edward Rolt of Sacombe Park. 100 years later the Starky family inherited through similar circumstances when Sir Andrew Bayntun Rolt had no legitimate son and heir and his daughter, Maria Barbara, was named his heiress.
Thus we see the name changing from Bayntun to Bayntun Rolt and Bayntun Starky respectfully. The descendants of the Bayntun Starky family are now living in New Zealand where the remaining family's inheritance is housed in a private museum, however little information is freely available.
Algernon Sidney (1622-1683), in his Treatise on Government (written about 1680), chose the Bayntuns among those families that are now called commoners who in antiquity and eminence are in no way inferior to the chiefs of the titular nobility and if the tenures of their estates be considered, they have the same and as ancient as any of those that go under the name of Dukes or Marquess. The status of the Bayntun family did not diminish over the years and documents show the name changing by degrees over several centuries possibly as a result of phonetic interpretations from de Beinton, de Baynton, Benton, Bainton, Baynton to Bayntun
Sampson Lennard, Bluemantle (1616-1633), of the College of Arms drew up a great pedigree of the Bayntons of Wiltshire, including many maternal descents, much of the earlier portions being demonstratively false. From Thomas Bayntun (1300-1358) there is an abundance of information in the Calendar of Patent Rolls where a lot of very accurate information is stored. In truth, this would be a better place to start a sound pedigree.
In earlier years the de in the middle of a name would refer to the place of origin of that family. A typical example is that of Margaret de Grimstede. The Grimstede (now spelt Grimstead) which is in the parish of Downton, very close to Faulston. The de usually applied to gentry so de Baynton would be a place called Baynton. But what came first, the family that lived in a place and were named after it, or the family who built or influenced a village and had it named after them?
Documents and Court Rolls prove the earlier part of this pedigree were known as de Benton, and Baynton during the Tudor period. However in later centuries the spelling of the name changed to Bayntun and this is clearly evident in the memorials erected in the Beauchamp Chapel in the Church of St. Nicholas, Bromham. The spelling changes happened frequently, as the writer would write as it sounded, phonetically. This carried on until Samuel Johnson produced the first Dictionary in 1755, thus standardising the English language.
The Bayntun family set the record in the parliamentary history and knighthood of Wiltshire. In their preminence they yielded the Knighthood of the Shire with some regularity and were also well placed for Borough seats.
In between 1529 and 1629 alone, in four successive generations, the head of the family was elected for the Shire and during that century, there were only five Parliaments in which no Bayntun sat three of them during the reign of Mary when this strongly Protestant family was under a cloud. As well as Members of Parliament they had four Knights of the Shire and 18 as Burgesses.