This famous surname is English. It has at least three possible origins. The first was a metonymic occupational name for someone who dealt in weights and measures, either as a civil official responsible for ensuring that goods were sold at the correct weight, or a corn merchant, one who dealt in "pekkes". A pekke was a medieval measure of dry goods and equivalent to eight quarters of twenty eight pounds each. This was a large weight, but one that was used even into the 20th century in England. The second source is from a variant of Peak, a topographical surname for someone who lived by a pointed hill. Here the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century word "peac", meaning a point. Thirdly the name could be locational from the Peak District of Derbyshire, and as such was derived from the descriptive word "peac-land". The first recording (see below) is from the occupational source of the name. Among the recordings in London is the christening of Edward, son of John Peck, on March 27th 1580 at St. Antholin, Budge Row. Francis Peck was an early emigrant to America, leaving London, on board the "Alexander", bound for the "Barbadoes" in May 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Pecke, which was dated 1187, in the "Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 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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