This very interesting surname, also recorded as Bende, Bint, Bont, and the Cornish-West Country Bunt, is of Olde English or Anglo-Saxon origins. There are a number of possible explanations for the name including the topographical and a derivation from 'beonet', an area of land suitable for grazing. A second explanation is that the name could be occupational and describe either an archer or hunter or more probably a maker of long bows and handles for agricultural implements. Here the development is from 'bend-bow', also found as the surname 'Benbow'. The famous Victorian etymologist Canon C W Bardsley gives the meaning as 'one who lived on a bend of a river', and this is a possibility. What is certain is that the hereditary surname is first recorded both in England and Germany at much the same time, although England has it by a whisker. The first German recording is that of Albert Bende in 1286 at Bohringen, Province of Wurtt, whilst early English recordings include Adam del Bent in Staffordshire in 1327, and Henry del Bent of the same county in 1332. Another variation is that of Robert Le Bendare, in Sussex in 1327. Church registers give the following examples Nicholas Bend, christened at St Stephens, Coleman Street, London, on February 25th 1564, Thamasyne Bunt, the daughter of Richard and Joane Bunt, christened at Broadoak, Cornwall, on September 26th 1584, Thomasin Bunt, also of Broadoak, christened there on December 3rd 1620, and Petherick Bunt, son of Thomas, christened at St Teath, on New Years day, 1736. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de la Bende, which was dated 1272, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Shropshire, 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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