This is a very English surname, and is from the medieval given names "Parkin" or "Perkin", which are themselves diminutives of "Peter". St. Peter was the favourite saint of the medieval church and his name was very popular throughout Christendom in the Middle Ages. The name means "rock" or "steadfastness", from the Greek "petros", rock or stone. In the modern idiom the name can be spelt in a number of different ways: Parkyn, Parken, Perkin or Perkin. The patronymic "son of Parkin" first appears in the 14th Century, and the name development including William Perkynsone of Warwickshire in 1382, and Emmot Parkyngson of Whitby, Yorkshire in 1540; Robert Parkinson was recorded in the Oxford University Register of 1564. One Dorithie Parkinson, an early emigrant to the New World, was recorded on a list of living "at Elizabeth Cittie", Virginia, prior to February 16th 1623. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a red shield, on a chevron between three silver ostrich feathers as many black mullets, the Crest being a cubit arm vested gold, charged with five ermine spots in saltire sable, cuffed argent, the hand proper holding a red ostrich feather. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Parkynson, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1378 - 1400. 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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