This name is of English locational origin from a place in Devonshire; recorded as Pontesford in "The Place Names of Devonshire" dated 1249, or from Pontesford in Shropshire. The second element is the Old English pre 7th Century "ford", a ford, and the first, the genitive form of the Old English personal name Pant hence, "Pnat's ford". It is interesting to note that the first element of placenames ending in "ford" is often the name of an animal or a person. Ponsford, with variant spellings Paunsford, Pawnsford and Ponceford, is particulary well recorded in the church register of the Exeter area in Devon from the mid 16th Century, (see below).On April 13th 1573 Thomas Ponsford and Rose Tynckham were married in St. Mary's, Tedburn, and on October 11th 1585 Radigan Ponsford, an infant, was christened in Crediton. Ambrosius Ponceford and Marie Hole were married in Bovey Tracey parish on October 17th 1586. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Amie Paunsford married Thomas Treymlet, which was dated August 22nd 1567 in Cheriton Bishop, Devon, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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