This interesting and most unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Pinchbeck, near Spalding in Lincolnshire, which was recorded as "Pyncebek" in 1051 in the Saxon Diplomatic Codex, and as "Pincebec" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The placename is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "pinc(a)", a (chaf)finch, and "baece, bece", a stream. The initial element may also have been the Olde English "pink", meaning minnow. During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more popular, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname itself is first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below), while other early examples include John de Pinchebeke, in the Subsidy Rolls of Leicestershire in 1327, and William Pynchebek, in the Assize Court Rolls of London in 1447. Christopher Pinchbeck (1670 - 1732), a clockmaker, invented a copper and zinc alloy called after him, often used as imitation gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Pincebec, which was dated 1202, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lincolnshire", 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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