This very unusual and interesting name is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname has two possible derivations and interpretations; firstly, it may be a "nickname" surname for a bright, cheerful person, from the Old French "pinson", finch, from the Latin "pincio". The finch, a small singing bird often kept as a pet, was a symbol of lightheartedness and gaiety. The term may also have been used as a given name, and is recorded as such in a Latinized form in 1121, as "Pinchonis" and "Pincun". The second possible origin for the modern surname, found as Pinson, Pinshon, Pinch(e)on, Pinchin(g), Pinchen and Pinsent, is from the Old French "pinson", pincers, used as a metonymic occupational name for someone who made use of pincers or forceps in his work. Among the recordings of the name in London is that of the marriage of Edward Pinchin and Margrett Jackson, at St. Mary at Hill, on March 11th 1651. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Pincun, which was dated 1166, in the "Red Book of the Exchequer, Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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