Recorded perhaps not surprisingly, in a wide range of spellings which include: Pallenger, Pellingar, Pillinger, Pennigar, Pinnegar, and even Pinnijer, this is a medieval surname, but of pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon origins. It originates from the word 'penager' meaning an ensign or banner bearer, one who carried the arms and pennants in a procession, and hence it can be described as occupational. The (sur)name is first recorded in the York Mystery Plays of the 14th century, when Thomas le Penniger and William le Pennager, so much for local spelling, were recorded as marching between the various craft guilds. The various and later forms of the name spelling are accounted for by both the erratic spelling at a time when less tham one in twenty of the population could even write their own name, but mainly because of the local regional dialects. These were so thick as to effectively be different languages. As a result the increasing use of surnames from about the year 1300, also as with this surname, created a wide diversity of spellings across the county. Examples of the surname recordings taken from early surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Isabel Pellinger who married James Dixon on May 20th 1628, Nathaniel Pellinger, a witness on May 31st 1678, both at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, and later Elizabeth Pillinger, who married John Lewis, at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on March 23rd 1770, and Thomas Pinnegar of Calne in Wiltshire, a subscriber to the Religious Tracts Society in 1887.
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