This is a locational surname recorded in the spellings of Honeybourne, Honeyborn, Honeyborne, Honeybun, Honeybunn, Hunnybun, Honeybone, and no doubt others as well! It originates from the ancient villages of Cow Honeybourne in Gloucestershire or Church Honeybourne in Worcestershire. the latter being locally pronounced 'Hunnybun', and a source of at least one variant spelling. The name means 'the pleasant stream' from pre 7th century Olde English 'Hunig'(pleasant or pure) and 'Burna'(a brook). The variety of modern spellings would suggest that at some point in the medieval period there was a wholesale clearance of tenants from one or both villages, perhaps as a result of plague, sheep clearance or even Civil War. When this happened the inhabitants would seek respite where they could and would adopt, or more likely be given, the name of their former village as identification. Spelling being at best rudimentary, lead to the development of 'sounds like' surnames. Early recording examples include William de Honeybourn in the 1327 subsidy rolls of Worcester, and Robert Honniborn, who on July 4th 1635 was listed as being a passenger on the ship 'Transport of London', which left Gravesend, Kent, on that date bound for the new American colony of 'Virginea'. He was therefore one of the earliest settlers in the New World. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Hunuburn, which was dated 1221, recorded in the Assize Court rolls of Gloucester, during the reign of King Henry lll, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216-1272 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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