This interesting and uncommon name has its origins in the medieval given name Benedict, from the Latin "Benedictus", meaning "Blessed", which was popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, due chiefly to the fame of St. Benedict (circa 480 - 550); he founded the Benedictine order of monks at Monte Cassino and wrote the definitive monastic rule. The personal name gave rise to a large number and variety of personal names and thence surnames, such as Benn, from the Middle English given name "Benne", a short form of Benedict. The surnames Benns, Bents, Bence, Bense, Bance, Bants and Bince are all patronymic forms, meaning "son of Benn(e)". Interestingly the names Bence and Bance were reintroduced into England by French Huguenot refugees during the late 17th Century. The surname development in London includes Cycilie Bence (1576), Elizabeth Benns (1579), Edmund Bents (1598), Anne Bants (1634), and John Banse (1663). Among the recordings of the name in London Church Registers is the christening of Alexander, son of Robert and Jane Bence, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, on December 3rd 1615, and the marriage of Nicholas Bence and Mary Moore on May 12th 1667, at St. James', Dukes Place. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osmund Benz, which was dated 1086, in The Domesday Book (Derbyshire), during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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.
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