This interesting and very unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and is an 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 and 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 Middle English "popinjay, papejai", parrot, ultimately from the Old French "papageai", talking-jay, and the nickname was probably acquired by a particularly talkative person, or perhaps someone who habitually dressed in bright colours, but occasionally it may have denoted someone who excelled at the medieval sport of shooting at a wooden parrot on a pole.One Robert Papyngeye was noted in the 1371 Close Rolls of Norfolk, and on May 21st 1714, Robert, son of Thomas Pobjoy, was christened in Dursley, Gloucestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Papejay, which was dated 1321, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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