This unusual and attractive surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place believed to have been situated in Devonshire, because of the high incidence of early surname recordings from that county. The component elements of the placename are the Olde English pre 7th Century "hunig", honey, with "wella", spring, stream or well; hence, "honey stream, stream on whose banks honey could be gathered". In medieval Britain honey was a very important commodity, being the only sweetening agent in widespread use, and the main constituent of the popular beverage, mead. Honeyborne in Gloucestershire, and Honiley (Warwickshire) also have the Olde English "hunig", as their initial element. On February 7th 1615, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Honiwell, was christened in Newton Saint Cyres, Devonshire. In the modern idiom the surname has a fascinating range of spelling variations including: Huniwall, Hunnywell, Honneywill and Hunnawill. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield, a chevron embattled counter-embattled per chevron and per pale sable and azure counterchanged, between three hawks' heads erased of the last, the Crest being a beehive with bees volant proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Honiwill, which was dated November 16th 1539, christened at Shirwell, Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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