This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either an occupational name for a maker or seller of pilches, or a nickname for a habitual wearer of one of these. A pilch was a kind of coarse leather garment with the hair or fur still on it, so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pylece" meaning a skin, hide. In early 11th Century English, "pilcher" was a popular term of abuse, being associated with the unrelated very "pilch", to steal, and with the unrelated noun "pilchard", a type of fish. The surname is widespread in Kent, and recordings of the name date back to the early 13th Century (see below). Hugh Pilchere (1275) appears in the Feet of Fines of Cambridgeshire, and Henry le Pilchere (1275) in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire. Church Records list the marriage of Henry Pilcher to Jone Empsley on June 2nd 1572 in Borden, Kent. A Coat of Arms granted to a Pilcher family is gold, three red chevrons interlaced, a red chief. The Crest is on a red chapeau, turned up ermine a cockatrice, green wings expanded and gold crowned with a ducal coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mabilia Pullchare, which was dated 1214, in the "Feet of Fines of Essex", 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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