This unusual surname recorded as Bonnick, Bonick, and Bonwick, is locational. It derives from a place called Bonwick in the East Riding of Yorkshire, recently recorded as having 26 inhabitants. There is also a hamlet called Bonwicks Place in Sussex which may have given rise to some surnames, although the records suggest that the first nameholder gave his name to this village, having previously moved from Yorkshire. There is some disagreement as to the actual meaning of the village name. In Olde English 'wic' seems to have had a variety of meanings dependant on its geographical location. The two most usual explanations are that it describes a farm as in Gatwick, the appropriately named 'Goat farm' or Cheswick, the cheese farm. However in the latter case it may also describe a safe harbour or landing place, and situated as it is by the mouth of the Humber, Bonwick may describe either a good landing place or it could be a personal name such as 'Buna', to give "Buna's wic" an explanation favoured by Ekwall's dictionary of place names. Early examples of the recordings include William de Bonwyk of Sussex in the 1332 subsidy rolls of that county, and John de Bonnewyk of Yorkshire, a witness in the assize rolls of that county. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Bonwyk, which was dated 1296, the subsidy rolls of the county of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as 'The hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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