Recorded in the spellings of Porch, Porcher and Portch, this is an English surname. It usually derives from the Middle English word "porche", itself of Germanic origins, and in former times described a covered area at the entrance to a manor house or monastery. This "porche" was probably occupied by the gatekeeper, who in the due course of time became known by his occupation. However the spelling of the surname as Porcher, appears to mean something quite different. This is a breeder of "porc", or pigs. It is therefore possible that the surname however spelt today has a dual meaning of either a gatekeeper or a swineherd. Occupational surnames were often only hereditary when a son continued in his fathers business, so the early recordings of Emma le Porcher and Nicholas Porker in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire respectively, did not necessarily continue into the next generation. However Richard atte Porche of Somerset in 1272, and Stephen atte Porche also of Somerset in 1370, may have been related although one hundred and fifty years apart. Other recordings include Thomas Porch at the church of St Michael Bassishaw, city of London, on April 14th 1619, and William and Elizabeth Portch, witnesses at St Panchras Church, Soper Lane, also city of London, on April 2nd 1694.
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