This interesting name has three possible origins, the first being derived from an Anglo-Saxon occupational name for a grower or seller of beans, from the Old English pre 7th Century 'bean', beans. The second origin is from the Middle English (1100-1500) word 'bene', friendly, amiable; the name was given as a nickname for a pleasant person. The third possible origin is Scottish and is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic personal name 'Beathan', a diminutive of 'be(a)tha', life. The name development since 1166 (see below) includes the following: Robertus filius Biene (1168, Cumberland), Ricardus filus Bene (1278, Lancashire) and Juliana Bean (1301, Yorkshire). The modern surname can be found as Bean(e), Been, MacBean, McBean, McBain and McBayne. Among the sample recordings in London are the christening of Thomas, son of Francis and Emma Margaret Bean, on May 10th 1840 at St. Andrew's, Holborn, and the marriage of George Bean and Sarah Payne on October 22nd 1787 at Bermondsey. The first recording in Scotland is of one Ferchard Bean (1428, Edinburgh). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ailwardus Bene, which was dated 1166, The Norfolk County Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The Builder of Churches', 1154-1189. 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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