This name was derived from the Old French 'bonair' a name given to one who was debonair, civil, gentle and courteous. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The name was brought into England, and taken to Ireland by settlers who arrived in the Wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Bonar is common in north Ulster. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. Early records of the name mention William le Bonere, 1273, County Oxford. Johannes Boner of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edmund Bonner (1500-1569) was a prelate and bishop of London from 1540. The reputation he gained at Oxford recommended him to Wolsey, who made him chaplain. His zeal in Henry VIII's service after Wolsey's fall, earned him due promotion; and in 1533 he was deputed to appear before the Pope. In 1540 he was made Bishop of London, but was imprisoned in 1549 to 1553 for refusing to recognize royal supremacy during the reign of Edward VI. Later, under Mary I he was restored to office. George Bonner registered at Oxford University in the year of 1577. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland.
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