Apparently recorded as Pickthorn and Pickthorne, this is an English surname. It is locational from the tiny hamlet of Pickthorne in the country of Shropshire, near the not much larger Stottesdone. Meaning the place of the spiky thorn, tiny though it is, it was large enough in 1086 to be included in the famous Domesday Book and later in 1194 appears in the Pipe Rolls of Shropshire. It would seem that around the 17th century the village suffered under the infamous Enclosure Acts, whereby adjoining land owners were legally empowered to seize the common lands used by their tenants for grazing, and to 'enclose' them for their own use. This coupled with the increasing demand for wool, reduced the need for workers, driving them off the land and into the growing cities. Locational surnames are therefore usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes, as an easy form of identification. As a result many 'locational' surnames are not found in the area from which they originate. In this case though we have been able to trace at least one early recording from Shropshire. This was William Pickthorne, whose son Hugh was christened at St Leonards church, Bridgenorth, on March 8th 1595.
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