Recorded as Pemberton, Pimperton, Pembertin and Penburton, this is an English surname. It has very distinguished history with no less than twelve coats of arms, and having several notable entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography". It is locational from the district of Pemberton, south-west of Wigan, in the county of Lancashire. Recorded as "Penberton" in the Pipe Rolls of that county, dated 1201, and as "Pemberton" in the 1212 Book of Fees, the place was so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pen", from the British (pre-Roman) "pen", head, top, summit, hill, with "beretun", a compound of "bere", meaning barley, and "tun", an enclosure hence, "bereton on the hill". Locational surnames, such as this were originally given to the lord of the manor, or as a easy means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the name include: Alan de Pemberton (Lancashire, 1202), and Thomas Pemberton of Whitley, noted in the Cheshire Wills Records of 1595. Sir Francis Pemberton (1625 - 1697), was lord chief-justice in the year 1681, whilst James Penberton is recorded in the town of Leyland, on January 4th 1778. The earliest "Arms" are those held by the descendants of John Pemberton of Stanhope, Durham, living in 1400. These have the blazon of a silver shield with a chevron ermines between three black griffins' heads couped. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Pemberton, which was dated 1189, in the "Close Rolls of London", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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