Recorded in the spellings of Pinch, Pinck, Pincke, Pinks, and the dialectals Penk and Penke, this surname is English. It was of early medieval origin, and derives from a nickname given to a bright, chirpy, person, thought to be as active and cheerful as a chaffinch. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "pinca", in Middle English "pinch" or "pink". There are many examples of modern surnames that have their origins in medieval nicknames taken from some real or supposed resemblance to a bird, such as Lark, Hawk, Swan, Nightingale and Finch.Examples of the recordings taken from the church registers include: Joane Pinke, christened at St Lukes Church, Chelsea, on February 1st 1584, Thomas Penke, who married Ales Bryan at the church of St Peter-le-Poer, city of London on February 12th 1609, Edward Pink who married Jane Perkins at St. Mary's, Marylebone, London on the Boxing Day, 1693, and the patronymic Thomas Pinks, son of John Pinks, christened at St Mary Whitechapel, on March 14th 1707. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sewine Pinca, which was dated 1100 - 1130, in the "Old English Bynames", for the county of Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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