The earliest undoubtedly historical record of this ancient and noble family dates from the year 1040, 26 years before the Norman conquest, when its then representative, Bandinello Bandinelli, held the rank of Count, and ‘’Console di giustizia’’ at Sienna. Tradition, however, as handed down to the present Italian members of the family, traces its descent two centuries higher, when it is said that a distinguished warrior of noble birth, Band Seinel by name, a native of Aix en Provence, was left in charge of Sienna by the Emperor Charlemagne, on returning from his Italian expedition.
But from the year 1040 the descent of the Bandinelli in the direct male line is clearly traced by offficial and legal documents. Bandinello Bandinelli had three sons, the founders of three Siennese families of considerable distinction.
Pope Alexander III
Ranuccio Bandinelli, whose wife Muratori designates as ‘’Tedda e primaria vice-comitum nobilitate Pisana’’, had two sons, of whom the elder was the ancestor of Count Giulo, of whom presently, and the younger, Rolando, became the celebrated Pope Alexander III, the same who compelled Henry II of England to walk barefoot to the tomb of Thomas a Becket; and, after a long and severe contest, which ended in the liberation of Italy from the German yoke, obliged the renowned Frederic Barbarossa to hiss his toe.
It is related that when the Emperor endeavoured to excuse the act, on the plea that it was to St Peter that he offered the humiliating homage, Alexander haughtily replied:’Both to Peter and to me’.
[Note: There follows several paragraphs relating to Pope Alexander but of no particular relevance to the history of the Bandinel family]
mong the many distinguished heroes of the family, a pre-eminence is generally accorded to Count Giulo, grandson of the elder brother of Rolando, and representative of Ranuccio, and consequently of Bandinello Bandinelli. He led 900 lances to the Holy War, and performed such signal service to St Louis, in his Egyptian expedition, that this monarch bestowed on him as an augmentation to the simple golden shield borne by Bandinello Bandinelli and his descendants, the peculiar and characteristic bearing from which he obtained the surname of ‘’Cavaleante’’ – on an escutcheon azure, a knight on horseback, with his spear in rest, argent.
The family of the Bandinelli, in that and the succeeding centuries, distinguished itself, as the Bishop of St Malo expresses it, ‘’dans l’epee, l’eglise et l’etat’’, producing six cardinals and other ecclesiastics of note, besides many laymen who obtained renown in politics, diplomacy and arms.
It was, however, in the 16th century that the head of this house achieved a greater triumph than any which had been accomplished by his predecessors, by sacrificing all the worldly advantages of his exalted position for conscience sake. This high-minded nobleman took up his residence at Geneva, where he wasn greatly distressed at the excesses of the Swiss Reformers, and endeavoured, though fruitlessly, to oppose the prevailing current of opinion.
His only son David, in the course of his travels, came to England where, at the house of her grandfather, Sir Nicholas Stalling, who was gentleman usher in daily waiting to Queen Elizabeth and James I, he made the acquaintance of his future wife, Elizabeth Stalling. The tomb of Sir Nicholas still exists in the parish church of Kenn, Somerset. On 2 August 1602 he was naturalised as a British subject, his letters of naturalisation being signed by Sir Walter Raleigh, then Governor of Jersey, where he, as well as many other continental Reformers, had taken up his residence.
David Bandinel, having settled in Jersey, where he purchased some property at St Martin, partly, as appears, if not wholly, by the sale of his family jewels, became successively Rector of the parishes of St Brelade, St Mary and St Martin, and Dean of the island; where his character stood very hi8gh for his numerous charities, his great benevolence, his extreme courtesy, and his brilliant and varied talents. He was on terms of intimate friendship with Archbishop Abbott, who filled the see of Canterbury from 1611 to 16313, and was held in high estimation by his successor, Laud.
His eldest son, James, entered at Broadgate Hall, Oxford, on 12 March 1619, and afterwards at Christ Church, in the same university. He took orders in the English church, and became Rector of the parish of St Mary, Jersey. He married Margaret Dumaresq, by whom he had an only son David.
At the conclusion of the struggle that broke out in Jersey, shortly after the commencement of the Great Rebellion, the dean and his son James, who had rendered themselves peculiarly obnoxious to the de Carteret family, were imprisoned in Mont Orgueil Castle; in a vain attempt to escape from which, on 10 February 1644, they were so much injured that the father, who was immediately recaptured, died in 24 hours, and the son, who a few days afterwards met his father’s funeral as he was led back a prisoner, died before the end of a twelvemonth.
David, the Dean’s namesake and grandson, married in 1657 Rachel Messervy, the heiress of Bagot. “’’On tira,”’’ says tye parish register, “’’les canons, tant en la dite paroisse de St Sauveur, qu’a celle de St Martin, avec plusieurs mousquetaires.’’”
Falle, in a note to his ‘’History of Jersey’’, when speaking of Dean Bandinel, says:
- ”This reverend person has left a worthy posterity among us. His grandson, of the same name with him, David Bandinel, Seigneur de Bagot, was a man in whom the island might justly glory; a man of most singular prudence and address in all affairs and concernmets of life. Many years he sat upon the bench of justice, with great honour to himself and no less benefit to the public, through those moderate and healing conusels which he always pursued, and which he had a peculoiar art and faculty of insinuating into others. Indeed the peace of the country seems to have died and expired with him. He was my guardian in my nonage, and I had so many obligations to him otherwise, that ‘tis the lest thing I can do, upon this occasion of mentioning his ancestors, to consecrate these few lines to his memory.”
The eldest son of this David, George Bandinel, was Seigneur of Melesches as well as Bagot. He married firstly Elizabeth Poingdestre, by whom he had a son David, whose male line became extinct in the 18th century; and secondly Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Francis de Carteret, and grand-daughter of Sir Philip de Carteret, for many years the bitter antagonist of Dean Bandinel and his son. From George, the only male issue of this marriage, the present family descends.
His grandson, named George after his three immediate ancestors, had a large family, none of whom left any issue. During the first French Revolution he gave a home to a French priest, Monsieur de Grimouville, who after his death repaid his hospitality by kindness and attention to his surviving daughters. On the restoration of the Bourbons, M de Grimouville was preferred to the see of St Malo. During his residence in Jersey he took a great interest in the genealogies of the families of the island.
The Rev James Bandinel, brother of the last-named George, second son of their father, by his second wife, Elizabeth Lempriere, was a young man, secretary to the last Jacobite club at Oxford; he was also, when at Spa, accredited emissary to Prince Charles Edward. He obtained great distinction at the University, both as a scholar and a divine; became public orator, and was selected to preach the first Bampton Lecture.
His known attachment to the house of Stuart alone prevented him from attaining the highest ecclesiastical dignity. This attachment would appear to have been hereditary in the family, who willl possess two miniatures of Charles I, which tradition states to have been given to its representative by Charles II.
The Rev James Bandinel was presented to the vicarage of Netherbury, Dorset, by Dr Dumaresq, prebendary of Salisbury. He was a man of deep learning, sincere piety, refined manners and great kindness of heart. His memory was long cherished at Netherbury, with a respect and devotion which had not died out in fifty years after his death.
His eldest son, the Rev Bulkeley Bandinel, librarian to the University of Oxford, is the present representative of the family, being the direct heir male of David Bandinel, first Protestant Dean of Jersey; and through him of Bandinello Bandinelli and, if tradition is to be credited, of the still more ancient Band Seinel. He married Mary, eldest daughter of John Phillips of Culham, Berkshire. Dr Bandinel was proctor for the University of Oxford in 1815, and has edited several works for the University Press; among others, Dugdale’s ‘’Monasticon Anglicanum’’ and Clarendon’s ‘’History of the Rebellion’’.
James Bandinel, second son of the Rev James Bandinel, was for many years head of the department in the Foreign Office, for the suppression of the slave trade. His talents were of a high order; his public services were felt, and admitted to be of no common kind; and his indefatgable labours in searching out and relieving the sick and poor were such as, unfortunately for the world, are rarely to be met with. He was the author of a valuable work entitled ‘’Some account of the Trade in Slaves from Africa’’. He married, in 1813, Marian Eliza, eldest daughter of the Rev Robert Hunter, Rector of Omford Fitzpaine, Dorset, who came of a very old Scotch family, the founder of which is said to have fought under Kenneth MacAlpine, in the firld which decided the dominion of Scotland.
The only issue of this marriage, the Rev James Bandinel, of Witney, Oxford, was born in 1814 and married, in 1845, his first cousin, Julia, youngest daughter of the late Rev Thomas Le Mesurier, Rector of Hauthton-le-Shorne, Durham, and fourth son of John Le Mesurier, Hereditary Governor of the Island of Alderney, by whom he has issue three children surviving.
To this family, also, the famous sculptor, Baccio Bandinelli, the rival of Michaelangelo Buonarotti, claimed to belong, and his claim was admitted. Some of his frescoes, from the choir of the cathedral at Florence, are represented by casts in the Mediaeval Court of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham.
There were apparently other branches of this house formerly in different parts of France, as De Bandinelly in Languedoc, de Bandinel of Figaret, in Provence, and oanother family in Normandy. It is not known to which branch belonged Magister Byndno de Bandinelli, instituted to the incumbency of Levorustoke, Worcester in 1314.