This intriguing surname is an interesting example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, and supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pinca" (Middle English "pinch, pink"), (chaf)finch, and originally denoted a bright, "chirpy" person, thought to be as active and (apparently) cheerful as a (chaf)finch. Early examples of the surname include: Adam Pinc (Yorkshire, 1176); Hugo Pinch (Lincolnshire, 1190); Robert Pinke (Hampshire, 1200); and Dionisia le Pinch (Kent, 1317). On November 5th 1643, Alice, daughter of John Pinch, was christened at St. Giles Cripplegate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sewine Pinca, which was dated 1100, in the "Old English Byname Register", Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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