Bonshaw History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bonshaw is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in or around the manor of Bonsall in the county of Derbyshire.

Early Origins of the Bonshaw family

The surname Bonshaw was first found in Derbyshire at Bonsall, a parish, in the hundred of Wirksworth. [1] The parish dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was first listed as Bunteshale. [2] At that time, it was shown as "the King's land." "This parish, anciently called Bonteshall, comprises by computation 2338 acres." [1] Literally, the place name means "nook of land of a man called Bunt," from the Old English personal name + "halh." [3] It is noted for its lead mining and there is evidence that the town has been populated since 2000 B.C., one of the few early records of the ancient Britons.

Early History of the Bonshaw family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bonshaw research. Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bonshaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bonshaw Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Bonshaw are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Bonshaw include: Bonsall, Bonzall, Bonsale and others.

Early Notables of the Bonshaw family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Bonshaw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bonshaw family

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Bonshaw or a variant listed above: Richard Bonsall and his wife Mary, and his five children, Obadiah, Elizabeth, Rachel, Anne, and Abigail, who settled in Philadelphia in 1682; Edward, George, and James Bonsall arrived in Philadelphia between 1850 and 1864..



The Bonshaw Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Pro patria
Motto Translation: For my country.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)


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