Recorded in many forms including Peaver, Peever, Peevor, Peffer, Pepper, Peckover, Pickhaver, Pickhower and Pickover, this is a highly confusing medieval English surname. It has at least three possible origins of which the first five surname spellings as shown above, could apply to any of the three origins, although the last four spellings are probably relevant only to the last origin. The first origin is occupational from the French word peyvrier and described a pepper and spice merchant. The second is a nickname for a person with a hot temper, also from peyvrier, and possibly given the robust humour of those times, the reversein that it was given to a quiet person, whilst the third is locational from all or any of the villages called Peover in the counties of Cheshire and Derbyshire. The village meaning is "bright river". Early examples of surname recordings include Roger Peivre and Alice Peper in the Fines Court rolls of Essex in 1198 and 1241 respectively, and they would seem to have been merchants, whilst John Pepper alias Peyvre, was recorded in the calendar of the Mayor's Court Rolls for Cambridgeshire in 1246. Amongst the interesting recordings is that on August 15th 1635, of Francis Pepper, aged 16 years, who embarked from London on the ship "Globe" bound for Virginia Colony in the future USA, whilst Nathaniel Pickever married Joane Harrison at St Dunstans Stepney, on September 9th 1649. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Peper. This was dated 1197, in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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