The surname of Hensby was a location name of the parish of Hanbury in the County of Stafford, seven miles from Burton. There is a parish of Hanbury in Worcester and a small parish of the same name in Oxford. The name was originally derived from the Old English word, Heanbyrg, literally meaning the dweller at the high fortress. Early records of the name mention Walter de Haneber who was recorded in the year 1273 in the County of Oxford. Thomas de Haneberwe was documented in the County of Somerset in the year 1327. Philip de Hensby is documented as the rector of Wells in the County of Norfolk in the year 1327. Francis Hanburye of Middlesex registered at Oxford University in the year 1592.
Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as 'de', 'atte', 'by' or 'in'. The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood, marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe, a need was felt for a family name. This was recognised by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal names were rapidly superseded by the new Christian names introduced by the Norman's. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th Century this scarcity of Christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Norman's had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the King should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularised and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armoury, Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Hanbury, County Worcestershire, seated there from a remote period. (Hanbury)
Arms - Or a bend engrailed vert cotised sable
Crest - Out of a mural crown sable a demi lion rampant or holding in the paws a battle axe of the first helved gold
Motto - Nec Prece Nec Pretto (Neither by prayer or bribery)