This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Bonehill in Staffordshire. The placename was recorded as "Bolenhull" in the 1230 Pipe Rolls, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Bula", with "hyll", hill; hence "Bula's hill". The first element may also be the Olde English "bula", bull, bullock; hence "bull or bullock's hill". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Johan Bunnell and Robert Knappe, which took place on April 20th 1561 at St. Mary at Hill; the christening of Richard, son of Thomas Bunnell, which took place on January 10th 1562 at St. Giles', Cripplegate; the marriage of Cicely Bunnell and Michaell Dorch, which took place on September 11th 1580 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney; and the christening of Benjamin, son of Thomas Bunnell, which took place on October 17th 1641 at St. Olave's, Southwark. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a red shield with three silver increscents, the Crest being a Cornish chough rising on a ducal coronet proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Bonnell, which was dated February 12th 1556, christened at St. Peter's, Cornhill, London, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553 - 1558. 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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