This interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational surname for a maker of points. The name derives from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "poynte(r), pointe(r)", from the Old French "pointe", point, sharp end, originally from the Latin "puncta", from "pungere", to pierce. Points were a kind of tagged lace or cord, of twisted yarn, silk or leather, used for fastening together the doublet and hose worn in the Middle Ages. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary.In some cases the modern surnames Pointer and Poynter may derive from an occupational name for a tiler; the practice in medieval roofing was for all the layers of tiles to be "pointed", or rendered with mortar, and this was called "pointing" as early as 1265. The marriage of William Poynter and Mudlen Dulle was recorded at St. Dionis Backchurch, London, on May 27th 1585. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Benedict le Puintur, which was dated 1206, in the "Pipe Rolls of Berkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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