This interesting and uncommon name is of Old French and early medieval English origin, and is a good example of that fascinating group of European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. In this instance, the nickname was for a pilgrim, a person who had been on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, or to some seat of devotion in Europe such as Santiago de Compostella or Rome, or, in England, to the tomb of St. Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. The name derives from the Middle English "pilegrim, pelgrim", or the Old French "pelegrin"; the ultimate derivation of the word is from the Latin "peregrinus", traveller, a derivative of "peregre", abroad, from "per agros", literally "through the fields", from "ager", field. Pilgrimages were often imposed as penances, the greater sins being expiated by the harder journeys. Occasionally, "Pilgrim" was used as a given name, and some surnames may derive from this use of the word. Early examples of the surname include: Eustace Pelrim (1221, Cambridgeshire); Robert Peregrine 91243, Somerset); William Pylegrim (1251, Huntingdonshire); and Simon Pegrym (1327, Suffolk). The surname forms range from Pilgrim, Peagrim, Piggrem and Peggram, to Pegrum, Pigrome, Pelerin, Peregrine and Paragreen. In London, the marriage of Mercy Peggram and Benjamin Robinson was recorded at St. James', Duke's Place, on October 6th 1695, and the christening of Margaret, daughter of John Peggram, took place at St. John's, Hackney, on March 13th 1714. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Pegrum, which was dated 1200, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Dorset", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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