This interesting surname is of Welsh origin, and is a locational name from Powys. The new division of Wales into counties has brought back the name Powys; in the medieval period it was the name of the princedom of north-east Wales. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. John de Powis is recorded in 1318, and John Powys is listed as one of the King's Yeomen in the Caernarvon Court Rolls (1305).In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Powys, Powes and Powis. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Mary, daughter of Wyllyam and Jane Powys, on October 6th 1541, at Dymock, Gloucestershire; the marriage of Anna Powes and Henricus Longe at Shipton, Shropshire, on January 17th 1542; and the marriage of Thomas Powis and Elizabeth Coote on November 2nd 1550, at Shipton, Shropshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is gold with a red lion rampant and a red canton, the Crest being a red lions gamb erased grasping a gold sceptre, on the top a gold fleur-de-lis. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ernold de Powis, which was dated 1148, in the "First Century of English Feudalism", Herefordshire, during the reign of King Stephen, known as "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. 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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