Recorded as Pocknell, Pocknoll, Pucknell, and possibly others, this is a surname of Olde English origins. It derives from the pre-seventh century word "puca", meaning a goblin, and the diminutive "pucell" meaning a little goblin!. Curiously this was originally a personal name of endearment, and later in the medieval times became a nickname for a person bearing some claimed resemblance to such a being. It is said that the elf and the goblin are much associated with the counties of Sussex and Kent, and that many fields and hollows were known as 'Puc's hollow. or Puc's hole' As such the surname can also be described as residential, with examples such as Robert de Pukehole recorded in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Sussex in 1296. Other early examples taken from surviving Sussex church registers include Tom Pucknoll, christened on December 28th 1569, at Petworth, whilst John, the son of Roger Pocknell was also christened at Petworth, on August 19th 1573, and Edward Pucknell married Elizabeth Bushope on July 12th 1584, at South Berstead. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Puchel. This was dated 1200, in the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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