This unusual and interesting surname, with variant spellings Pennycord, Penneycard, Pennicord etc., recorded in church registers of South East England from the late 17th Century is of English locational origin and is a dialectal variant of a place in Somerset called Pennard, so called from the Welsh "Pen ardd" meaning "high hill". This became "Pen-eard" in old English, and a misdivision of this phrase resulted in such forms as "Pene-ard", "Peni-card" etc.. Locational names were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their village or place of origin to settle elsewhere.Regional and dialectal differences consequently produced many variations on the original spelling of the placename. On November 12th 1674 Mary, daughter of William Pennicord, was christened in Arundel, Sussex and on February 10th 1722 George Pennycord, an infant was christened in St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. The marriage of William Pennicard to Anne Puttock took place in Kirdford, Sussex, on February 8th 1816. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Pennard, (marriage to Rychard Tomson), which was dated November 16th 1561, Hillingdon, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as 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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