Recorded in a number of spellings including: Pawnsford, Ponsford, Pondesford, Poundford, Poundsford and Poundesford, this is an English surname whose origins are somewhat confused. For some, perhaps the majority , the surname is of locational origins, from a place in Devonshire and recorded as Pantesfort in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. this village is now called Ponsford, the meaning being 'the shallow crossing place on the stream' from the Olde English pre 7th century 'pant-forda'. Over the centuries there has been an intermixing between the locational surname, and the nickname surname of Pauncefoot or Pauncefort. Introduced by the Norman invaders after 1066, this spelling developed from an entirely different source. According to the famous etymolgist the late Professor P H Reaney, the derivation is from the pre 7th century Ancient French words 'pance' meaning large, and 'volt' meaning arched, giving an overall meaning of 'arched belly!' . This apparently applied to the first known recording, that of Bernhard Pauncevolt in Hampshire in 1086, who was believed to be exceedingly corpulent. As the surname holders moved around the county in the Middle Ages, the Poundfords and Ponsfords became Paunceforts and Pauncefoots, and vice versa. Early examples of the surname recording include: On April 13th 1573 Thomas Ponsford and Rose Tynckham, who were married at St. Mary's church, Tedburn, James OPondsford, on March 17th 1777 and Solomon Pounsford, also recorded as Solomon Poundesford, at the famous church of St Mary-Le-Bone, Marylebone, on July 18th 1791. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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