This most interesting surname is of Old French origin deriving from a nickname for a particularly good or used child as a term of endearment, from the Old French elements "bon enfant", good infant. This term was probably introduced into England in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the modern idiom the surname is also found as Bonifant and Bonafont. The surname itself is first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below) and one Henry Bonefant was recorded in 1279 in the Hundred Rolls of Berkshire. John Bon Effaunt was mentioned in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1332 and Roger Bonyfaunt was mentioned in the Calendar of letter Books of the city of London" in 1472. William Bonyvant was recorded in 1540 in the "Index of Wills proved in the Rochester Consistory Court". Ann, daughter of Olyver Bolyvent was christened on October 25th 1640 at St. John's, Hackney, London. A Coat of Arms granted to a Bullivant family which depicts a black tower on a ermine shield, and three gold fleurs-de-lis on a red chief. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Bonefant, Bonenfand, which was dated 1207, The Curia 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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