This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the early medieval English "pecoc" or "pecok", itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "peacocc", meaning "peacock" and originally given as a personal nickname to one who liked bright colours or clothes, or perhaps to a rather vain person. "Pecoc" (without surname) appears in the 1086 Domesday Book of Essex, and a Pecoc de Briminton in the 1285 Assize Court Rolls of Cheshire. The surname from this source is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century. One Richard Pocok appears in the 1225 Assize Court Rolls of Somerset, and a Robert Pecok in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Essex. Recordings from London Church Registers include, the christening of Jane Peacock on January 17th 1548, at St. Lawrence Jewry and St. Mary Magdalene, Milk Street, and the marriage of Catryn Peacock and John Wardall on July 22nd 1565, at St. Michael Bassishaw. On April 3rd 1635, one William Peacock sailed from the port of London on the ship "Hopewell" bound for New England; he was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to enter America. The novelist Thomas Love Peacock (1785 - 1866) published such notable novels as "Headlong Hall" (1816) and "Nightmare Abbey" (1818). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Paucoc, which was dated 1194, in the "Pipe Rolls of Cornwall", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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