This rare and unusual name embodies a long and most interesting history. As a surname, it is a metonymic applied, quite literally, to a parchment maker or seller. The word "parchment" was derived, via the Middle English and Old French "parchemin", from a blending of the Latin words "Pergamina", (having reference to a method of preparing skins developed at Pergamum) and "Parthica Pellis", or "parthian skin". In the Middle Ages there was no extensive knowledge of paper manufacture, so all administrative work and the arts of reading and writing depended on the production of writing material from skins. The surname Parchment in one of its early forms was clearly in use by the latter part of the 12th Century (see below). One Walter Perchmunt is mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire (1200). A parchment of unknown first name married Ales (Alice) Father on January 24th 1579 at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gille Parchiminer, "the parchment maker", which was dated 1180, Shropshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 11, "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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