This is one of the very earliest of surnames. Recorded in several spellings including Pinch, Pinck, Pincke, diminutives Pinchen, Pinchin and Pinchon, and rare patronymics Pinches, Pinchson, Pinks, Pinkson as well as dialectals Penk, Penke, Penkes, and possibly others, this is an English name. First recorded in the 12th century it was a nickname of endearment for a bright, chirpy, person, thought by his peer group to be active like a finch. This bird in pre 7th century times was known as the "pinca", and later in Middle English as the finch, pinch or pink.Many modern surnames have their origins in nicknames taken from real or supposed resemblance to birds, with the lark, hawk, swan, nightingale and chaffinch, being good examples. Examples of the recordings taken from the surviving church registers of Greater London include:Joane Pinke, christened at St Lukes Church, Chelsea, on February 1st 1584, Thomas Penke, who married Ales Bryan at the church of St Peter-le-Poer, city of London on February 12th 1609, Edward Pink who married Jane Perkins at St. Mary-le-Bone, on Boxing Day 1693, and patronymics including William Pinches, who married Ann Weal at St Brides, Fleet Street, on December 20th 1604, and Thomas Pinks, christened at St Mary Whitechapel, on March 14th 1707. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sewine Pinca. This was dated 1100 - 1130, in the Old English Bynames list, for the county of Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry 1st, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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