Recorded in a number of spellings as shown, this is one of those unusual English surnames of several possible origins. Recorded in various spellings including Benson, Benston, Binestone, Bonson, Bunson, Bunston, and Bunstone, the first possible origin is locational. If so it is either from a now lost medieval village or more likely it is from Benson, a village in Oxfordshire, first recorded as Beonstian in the year 561 a.d. It is estimated that at least three thousand English surnames do originate from 'lost' medieval villages, of which the only public record in the 21st century is the surviving surname, so this remains a possibility. A second possible origin is patronymic. If so it probably derives either from the word 'bun', an Old English word meaning 'reed, and hence a nickname for a thin person, or from Beona, a personal name whose meaning is lost. A very early recording is that of John de Benson of Oxfordshire in the Oseney Charters of 1269, whilst an Elizabethan recording is that of Sarah Bunnesone who married Ralph Winfeild at Harefield in Middlesex, on November 7th 1568. Other recordings include John Bunson, christened at St James Clerkenwell, in the city of London, on November 23rd 1617, and John Bunstone christened at the church of St Mary Staining, also in the city of London, on September 5th 1685.
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