Recorded in several forms including the basic Pell and Pelle, and diminutives Pellatt, Pellett and Pellitt, and the patronymic Pells, this is an English surname, but one with possible French or even Greek antecedents. It has at least three possible origins. The first is a medieval metonymic occupational name for a dealer in furs and skins. Here the derivation is from the English or French word "pel", meaning a skin. The surname from this source is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century. The second distinct possibility is that the name derives from Pelle, a pet form of the personal name Peter. This was a biblical name much admired by the 12th century Crusaders, and associated with the claim of St Peter, the founder of the Christian church. The origination is from the Greek word "petrus" meaning rock. John Pelle is recorded in the Assize Court Rolls of the county of Cambridgeshire in 1260. A later example is that of Thomas Pell, given as being a carpenter, who with his wife Marie and their daughter Marie aged eleven embarked from the port of London in 1635, on the ship "Planter," bound for New England. They were among the earliest recorded namebearers to enter the new American colonies. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald Pel, which was dated 1222, in the Pipe Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King Henry IIIrd of England, Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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