Recorded as Bau, Beau, Le Beau, and in compounds such as Beauclerk, Beaufrere, Beaumont, and many others, this is a surname of French origins. It means literally good or fair, and as such was given as a baptismal name of endearment to a male child, or as a medieval nickname to somebody who was considered by his peers to be either goodly, or more likely given the robust attitudes and sense of humour of those far off times, the complete reverse! It is unclear when the name was first recorded in England, although we have a similar recording in that of Edward le Bon in the Curia Regis rolls for the city of Oxford in the year 1204.Sadly the recordings in France itself are rather poor. Most early records were destroyed during the famous, or to some people infamous, Revolution of 1792, when for several years thereafter anarchy reigned and the church itself was banned. As a result early registers only survived when they were hidden, and then at the risk of ones life. Examples of recordings from surviving registers include those of Jean le Bon at Rumigny in the Ardennes, France, on January 22 1658, whilst in England Pierre Beau, a Huguenot Protestant refugee was recorded at the French church known as 'The Artillery', on May 10th 1761. Ten years later we have the recording of Francois Bau, the son of Pierre Bau and his wife Madelaine (nee Braconnier), at another French church called La Patente, on December 8th 1771, both churches being in the city of London.
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