Recorded in several forms as shown below, this long-established surname is best described as English, but has two distinct possible origins. Firstly, it may be of Norman French derivation, and a medieval nickname for someone who was handy with his fists. This is from the word "poigneor", meaning a fighter, and ultimately from the Latin "pugnus", fist. The word was introduced into England by the Normans, in the aftermath of the Conquest of 1066. Secondly, in some instances the surname may be a form of the Welsh patronymic "ab Ynyr", composed of the prefix "ab", meaning son of, and the personal name "Ynyr", apparently from the Latin "Honorius", meaning Honoured. Examples of the surname spelling are known to include Poynor, Powner and Punyer as well as the dialectals Bonner and Bunner. Early examples of the surname include: William le Poinur, in the Pipe Rolls of Herefordshire in the year 1230; William le Pungneur, in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire also in 1230; Ralph Poyner, listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1283; and Richard Pownyer, who appears in the Pinchbeck Register for the county of Suffolk, in 1327. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey le Poinnur. This was dated 1220, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Essex, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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