This interesting surname is of Cornish origin, and is a locational name from any of the thirteen places called Pengelly in Cornwall. The placename derives from the Cornish "pen", head, top, end, with "kelly", copse, grove; hence "a copse at the top or end of a piece of land". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname was first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below), and can also be found as Pengelly, Pengelley and Pengilly. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include; Grace, daughter of Thomas Pengilly, who was christened on March 31st 1628 at St. Mary le Bow; Andrew Pengelly who married Margaret Tillier on August 3rd 1629 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney; and Thomas Pengilley who married Jane Hallett on April 15th 1792, at the same place. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a gold shield, on a fesse per pale blue and red three silver lions rampant, the Crest being a wivern, green wings inverted, devouring a dexter arm proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Pengelly, which was dated 1297, in the "Ministers' Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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