This unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and derives from the Middle English and Old French "pentecost", ultimately from the Greek "pentecoste", meaning the fiftieth day after Easter, ie. Whitsuntide. This, is a personal nickname that was originally given to someone who was born at Whitsuntide, or had some particular connection with that time of year, such as owing a feudal obligation then. The surname first appears on record in the 12th Century, possibly the first example being on Pentecoste de Wendleswurda, noted in the Pipe Rolls of Surrey for the year 1187. Further early examples include: John Pentecost (Sussex, 1212); William Pentecoste (Oxfordshire, 1273); and John Pantecost (Middlesex, 1371). The seal of Cristina filia (daughter of) Pentecuste (Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire, 1250) bore the words, "s. Cristine Pentecost", showing that she had adopted as her surname the christian name of her father who was probably Pentecost de Oxonia (Oseney, 1230). There are many spelling variations including Pencost, Pancost, Pentycost, Pancoast, Pancoust etc, and examples of the recordings include - Hew Pancast who married Elizabeth Daddes at the church of St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London on February 21st 1636, Michael Pancost, who married Elizabeth Rabby at St. Benet Fink, London on January 16th 1704, and Richard Pancoust, who married Mary Goodaye at St. Botolph without Aldergate on December 1st 1755. There has been suggestion that the latter form is French Huguenot. This is possible, but is not proven, nor does the name appear in this spelling in France. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Pentecost, which was dated 1200, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Surrey", 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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