This interesting name, with variant spelling Pellew, may have derived from two possible origins. Firstly, it may be a Cornish derivation of the medieval English given name "Pell", which is a pet form of Peter, plus the hypocoristic suffix ending "-ow". The name may also be a variant of "Pedley", an English name from the Norman nickname for a stealthy person from the old French "pel (modern French "peau") de lou", meaning "wolf-skin". The surname first appears in records in the late 12th Century (see below). Marke, son of John Pellow was christened at Lezant Cornwall on April 26th 1560 while on July 18th 1561 Arnoll, son of Jone Pelloe was christened at North Tamerton, Cornwall. Christiane, daughter of Peter Pelowe was christened at Morwenstow in Cornwall on October 17th 1587. A notable name-bearer was one Thomas Pellow, circa 1715 - 1738 who was captured off Finisterre in an English merchant ship by two Salle Rovers in 1716 and was converted to islam and kept in captivity in the Sultan's service till 1738 when he escaped and returned to Cornwall. He published his experiences in 1739. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anketil Pel de lu, (Pealdelu), which was dated circa 1195 - 1197, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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