Recorded in several forms, this interesting surname has a number of possible origins. Firstly it may be of Old French origin, from the word "bon", meaning good, and the patronymic son which is usually Anglo-Saxon and sen which is usually Scandanavian. As such it would have been a medieval nickname given either to a fine gentleman or the son of such a person, or to someone who made frequent use of this term of address. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics.The surname may also be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational name from a place called "Benson", in Oxfordshire, recorded as "Bensentun" in the pipe rolls of the county in 1166. The placename derives rom the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Banesa", a derivative of "Bana", slayer, with "tun", settlement; hence "Banesa's settlement". Recordings of the surname in the surviving church registers of England include: the marriage of Susan Bonson and John Egerton on January 27th 1649, at Allhallows, London Wall, London, and the marriage of Elizabeth Bonson and William Chidley on April 5th 1658, at Crediton, Devon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter de Bensinton, which was dated 1208, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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