Recorded in a wide range of spellings including Pawnsford, Ponsford, Pondsford, Poundford, Poundsford, and Poundesford, this is an English surname of some confusion. For some, perhaps the majority of modern nameholders, the surname is locational from a place originally called Pantesfort in Devonshire, and so recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book for that county, but now called Ponsford. Over the centuries however there has been an intermixing between the locational name holders and the surname now usually found as Pauncefoot or Pauncefort. This developed from a quite different source. It was originally a medieval nickname for a very large person. The first known recording is that of Bernhard Paunceuolt, in the Domesday Book for Hampshire. He was given this name because he was exceedingly corpulent. According to the famous etymologist the late Professor P R Reaney, the name derives from the Ancient French word 'pance' of the pre 7th century meaning 'paunch' and 'volt', meaning 'rounded', to describe a person with a large belly. As the surname(s) moved around the country in the Middle Ages Poundsfords and Ponsfords became Paunceforts and Pauncefoots, and vice versa. Early examples of the surname recording taken from the surviving registers of Greater London include: James Pondsford, 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. One of the most famous cricketers of all time was Bill Ponsford of Australia, who flourished between 1925 and 1935.
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