Recorded as Polgreen, Poulgreen, Polgrean, Polgrene, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is locational, and presumably from some place whose name is represented by at least one of the surname spelling. However no such place has been found, or anything quite like it. On this basis it is probably a surname from a now "lost" medieval village, whose name may have been "Pol gren" or similar. This probably described a village green with a (may) pole or boundary marker, which is curious as most villages would have had a maypole, so why mark this one out? It is estimated that over three thousand villages and small towns have disappeared from the countyside of the British Isles over the past five centuries, and this seems to be another for the growing list. As to why so many disappeared has been the subject of several books. The popular culprits were changes in agricultural practices, the enclosure of the common lands, and the Great Plagues, although the drainage of the fens and wetlands, coastal erosion and war have also played their parts. The surviving church registers of the city of London include early examples such as William Polgrene at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, in 1615, and Humphrey Poulgreene, who must have been related, at the same church in 1624.
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