This unusual and interesting surname, of Norman origin, is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were given with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, or to habits of dress and occupation. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Old French "bon", good, with "cuer", heart; hence, "good-heart", an adjective denoting a reliable or good-hearted person. The surname first appears on record in the early part of the 13th Century (see below), and is cognate with the English name Goodheart or Goodhart, first recorded as "Godhierte", in the 1221 Curia Regis Rolls of Hertfordshire. In 1257, one William Bonquer was noted in the Feet of Fines for Kent, and in 1381, a Peter Bonkere appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire. On February 16th 1639, William, son of Richard Bunker, was christened at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London. It is interesting to note that Bunker's Hill in Charlestown, Massachusetts, first recorded as "Bunker Hill", was an area of land assigned to George Bunker of Charlestown (1634), who came originally from Odell near Bedford. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald Bonquer, which was dated 1229, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Surrey", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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