This most fascinating and intriguing surname has two possible origins. Firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, as a locational name from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place, believed to have been situated in the Devonshire, Somerset area, because of the number of early recordings in that region. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets have been lost in Britain, partly as a result of the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, and to the widespread practice of enforced "clearing" and enclosure of rural lands for sheep pastures from the 15th Century onwards. The placename is composed of the initial Olde English pre 7th Century "bur", cottage, bower, with "bearu", grove, wood. These elements are found frequently in West Country placenames, as in Bower, in Somerset, and the many places with the second element "beer, bere, bear", or "beare". The surname may also be of Old French origin, as a variant of Baubier, a nickname for someone with a speech defect, from "begue", a stammerer. Church Registers contain the following examples of the surname: George Boobyer, christened on November 7th 1585, at North Petherton, Somerset; Jacob Boubier, christened on October 5th 1603, in Meurthe-et-Moselle, France; and William Boobier, married to Mary Pidsley, at St. Sidwell's, Exeter, in Devon, on June 26th 1649. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johanna Bowber, which was dated April 27th 1539, marriage to Henry Carpenter, Knowstone, Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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