Recorded as Pledg, Pledge and Pledger, this is an English surname. It is occupational and originally described a person who gave a pledge. In medieval times this was a matter of great significance, and may be described as one of the early forms of the banking system. A "pledger" was a cross between a lawyer and a merchant banker, being one who legally stood as guarantor for another person, acting as a form of collateral. That the position was highly regarded is confirmed by the grant of Arms to the family of Pledger of Bottlesham, Cambridge, in the time of Queen Elizabeth 1st. This has the blazon of a black shield charged with a fess engrailed, between three bucks, pellettee, all gold. The gold pellets refer to coins, a clear reference to the occupation of the recipient. For reasons which are not clear the name is first recorded in Cambridge (see below), and is not apparently recorded in the city of London until March 20th 1648, when Philip and Elizabeth Pleager (as spelt) were witnesses at the christening of their daughter, Mary, at the church of St. Bartholomew the Great. On July 8th 1632, Humfrey Pledge married Mary Wells at All Saints WandsworthIn whilst on November 28th 1669, Phillip Pledger, was christened at St. Giles Cripplegate. The first recorded spelling of the family name in the church registers may be that of Thomae Pledger. This was dated March 11th 1586, when he was a witness at the christening of his daughter, Alicia, at Balsham, Cambridge. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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