Last name: Power
This interesting surname has two distinct possible origins, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, the name may be locational from the Old French "Pohier", indicating a native of Pois, a town in Picardy, North France, so called from the Old French "pois", fish, because of its well-stocked rivers. Locational surnames were originally given to the lord of the manor, or as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. The surname from this source was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It entered Ireland in 1170 when a bearer of the name le Poer took part in Strongbow's invasion of Wexford. The name, initially Gaelicized "de Paor", and later Anglicized "Power", became one of the most completely Hibernicized of the surnames introduced at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion. Poore may also have originated as a nickname for a poor man, or ironically for a miser, from the Middle English and Old French "povre, poure", poor. In the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, dated 1296 to 1332, the name appears as "le Poer, le Power", and "Power", and Richard le Poor, Poore or Poure (deceased 1237), was successively bishop of Chichester, Salisbury, and Durham. A Coat of Arms granted to the Poore family of Oxfordshire, is a silver shield with three black bars nebulee, over all a gold bend. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Drogo Poher, which was dated 1127, in the "Ancient Charters of Gloucestershire", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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