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Bonniface Coat of Arms / Bonniface Family Crest

The surname of BONNIFACE was a baptismal name 'the Boniface' a nickname for a well-doer, a jovial man. 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. Boniface of Savoy was the archbishop of Canterbury, and died in 1270. Early records of the name also mention Archibald Boneface of Kent, 1273. Ernald Boneface, County Oxford, ibid. Boniface atte Poule, was documented in County Somerset during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Boneface Blondell registered at the Oxford University in 1456. Bonyface Meorys and Jackamyn Kelderley were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1543. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward 11. (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Buried. Boniface Tatam (vitner) 'who dwelte at marke laine' St. Peter, Cornhill, London in the year 1606. The name is also spelt Bonyface

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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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