Recorded as Pearch, Pearche, Perch, Perche, Porch and possibly others, this is an English surname of great antiquity - and considerable confusion as to its definaitive origin. It was probably topographical or occupational, and as such would have described either somebody who possessed a perche of land, or who was a measurer of perches, a surveyor or land agent. We understand that a perche was probably similar to a hide, different terms were used in different parts of the country, and described an area of land considered large enough to support a family. However it is also possible that the name described a fisherman, one who professionally caught the freshwater fish known as the perch. Before the 14th century large areas of England and particularly in East Anglia were permanently under water, and todays fens are what remains. There was in consequence a large inland fishing industry, that gradually died out over five hundred years. Another possiblity is that the name is associated with the early textile industry, a perche being a frame used for drying cloth, whilst it was also a term used in stage coaches, but this was probably too late to influence the origin of the name. A coat of arms asscoaieted with the name has the blazon of a red field charged with a fesse between three crosses, all silver. It is unclear when the surname was first recorded but surviving church registers of the city of London include Hugh Perche who married Elizabeth Chamberlen at St Margarets Westminster on April 23rd 1559, and Margery Pearch who married Walter Hill at St Giles Cripplegate, on August 12th 1633.
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