This interesting and unusual name is the Anglicized version of the French name "Beauclerc" or "Bonderc" composed of the old French words, "Beau", a nickname for a handsome man from "bel", "beu", fair, lovely, or "bon", good, plus "clerc", originally denoting a member of a religious order but came to mean any literate many as only religious orders taught their members to read and write; hence, the surname originated as a nickname for a handsome priest or someone who wrote with a fair hand. The surname has several spelling variants including Bunclarke Bonclerk and Bunclark and dates from the early 14th Century (see below). In 1367, Henricus Cognomento Beauclerk, according to the Historical English Dictionary. The name is popular in Devon, Anne Bunclark married Henry Buttey on January 16th 1558, at Modbury in Devon also at the same church on May 16th 1603 Agnes Bunclarke married Nicholas Hytchins. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Bonclerk, which was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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