This interesting and unusual surname is of Old French origin, and is a nickname from the Anglo-Norman French phrase "bon Jean", meaning "good John". This phrase would have been used in the sense of "good man", or as "good servant". This would be an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of occupations or to personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, or to habits of dress and behaviour. Thomas Bowgeon is noted in the "Calendar of the Freemen of Norwich" (1454), and John Bowgyn is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk (1524). In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Budgen, Budgeon and Bowgen. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of Isabell, daughter of Michaell Budgen, which took place at St. James', Clerkenwell, on February 20th 1614, and the marriage of Mary Budgeon and Charles Wheeler on December 30th 1729, at Charterhouse Chappel, Finsbury. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a shield divided per pale green and silver, with an ermine chevron, in chief three crescents all counterchanged. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Bonjohan, which was dated 1297, in the "Ministers' Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall", during the reign of King Edward 1, 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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