Recorded in several forms including Bence, Bench, Bencher, and the dialectals Bunchar and Buncher, this is an English surname. It has two possible origins. The first is from the pre-medieval Latin personal name Benedictus, meaning "blessed". This name was very popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, due chiefly to the fame of St. Benedict (circa 480 - 550), and gave rise to many other spellings and shortforms, St Benedict founded the Benedictine order of monks at Monte Cassino and wrote the definitive monastic rulebook which all other orders followed.The personal name gave rise to other patronymic surnames such as Benn, Benns, Bents, Bence, Bense, Bance, Bants and Bince. All mean "son of Benn". The second possible origin is from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'benc' meaning a river bank or shore. The earliest recordings are believed to be Robert Bench of Cambridge in the Hundred Rolls of Landowners in 1279, and Roger le Bencher, in this case the name being occupational for one who earned his living on the 'benc,' in the Hundred Rolls of Oxford in the same year. A later example taken from surviving church registers of the 17th century is that of Benjamin Buncher, who married Mary Durrant at the church of St Bartholomew, the Less, in the city of London, on September 13th 1660. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osmund Benz. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Derbyshire, during the reign of King William 1st , 1066 - 1087. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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