This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Bonehill in Staffordshire. The placename is recorded as "Bolenhull" and "Bulenhull" in the 1230 Pipe Rolls of the county, and the derivation is from the genitive case of the Olde English pre 7th Century "bula", bull(ock) or the same word used as a personal name, and the Olde English "hyll", hill; hence, "Bula's hill" or "hill of the bullock". During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Bonehill, Bonhill, Bonell, Bonnell, Bunhill, Bunnell and Bonelle. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of Fortune Bunhill on February 28th 1588, at St. Giles' Cripplegate; the christening of Suzan, daughter of Thomas Bunnell, at Allhallows the Less, on January 1st 1592; and the marriage of Alexander Bonelle and Jane Curtis on February 11th 1838, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family depicts a semee of blue crosses crosslet and a blue lion rampant, armed red, charged on the breast with a gold annulet, on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Bonnell, which was dated February 12th 1556, christened at St. Peter Cornhill, London, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553 - 1558. 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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