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About the study
My link with the Newbon family is through my maternal line. I have been researching the surname seriously since 1996. I have amassed a great deal of information on the family particularly in London and Northamptonshire from the 17th century onwards.
Although various spellings exist before the mid 1700s (for example, Neabon, Newbone, Newborn, Newborne, Newbourne and Nubon), the spelling NEWBON has been remarkably consistent from this time, to the point that variant spellings do not seem to have taken root.
Those surname dictionaries that include Newbon (which is certainly not all!) mention its connection with the surname Bond and its supposed origins as a description of feudal hierarchy.
Historical occurrences of the name
There have been very few celebrity Newbons over the centuries, although between the late 1700s and early 1900s members of the Newbon family became prosperous citizens of the City of London, moving away from the family trade of baking into the law. The most interesting family member is probably Joseph Newbon (1840-1901), who founded the United Wards' Club of the City of London in 1877, was a member of the Common Council of the City of London and wrote a history of Blackfriars. Other notable figures with Newbon connections include E.H.Shepard, the illustator of A.A.Milne's Pooh Bear books - he is related to Elizabeth Shepard, the wife of Joseph's uncle Henry Newbon - and Heinrich August Luyken, a notable writer in Esperanto, who married Alice Maude Marian Newbon, daughter of a second cousin of Joseph Newbon. Trinity College, Cambridge boasts a window dedicated in 1766 to the Rev. Richard Newbon (1722-1801), Senior Tutor of the College and Vicar of Enfield.
The surname has always been a very rare name and continues as such today. In 1841 there were around 80 people with the surname, which had risen to around 220 in 1901. Today there are probably between 200 and 300 people with the surname Newbon.
Distribution of the name
The name is very much a Midlands name in origin. Its roots most likely lie in the northern part of Northamptonshire, where the family was resident during the 17th and 18th centuries. A branch moved to Staffordshire in the mid 1770s and the name became established in London from the late 1700s, although there are occurrences in the capital prior to this.
I hold full lists of GRO birth, death and marriage Newbon data, as well as much other information, and am always happy to pass on relevant information to any interested parties.