Recorded in various forms including Basnall, Bishnall, Bosnell and Bushnell, the very diversity of the spellings indicating that this is a surname of some mystery. It would seem to be English, and locational, but if so the place of origin remains unproven. An early recording in a surviving church register of the diocese of Greater London includes the christening of Henry Bosynile, the son of Henry Bosynile, at the church of St Giles Cripplegate, in the city of London, on February 23rd 1609. This church is also possibly the one where the name in the spelling of Bosnell is first recorded. An early example being that of Thomas Bosnell, whose daughter Mary, was christened there on May 31st 1681. A search of the known gazetters and place listings of the present time back to the 17th century, has failed to recorded any place in any of the known surname spellings. This is not in itself unique, a large number of British Isles surnames are known to originate from totally 'lost' sites, of which the only reminder in the 20th century is the surname, often as with this one, found in a myriad of differing forms. The make up of the name would suggest that it is from the Olde English pre 7th century personal name 'Botsiges' plus 'halh', which may mean a house, farm, or place of work. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes and moved elsewhere. Spelling being at best problematical, and local dialects very thick, lead over the centuries to the development of 'sounds like' surnames.
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