This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and can be either a metonymic occupational surname for one who bred horses, or a nickname for a frisky, high-spirited person. The derivation is from the Old French word "poulain", colt, young horse, from the Latin "pullamen", a derivative of "pullus", young animal. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Nicknames were given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, and consequently gave rise to several surnames. Early examples of the name include: Nicholas le Pullen (Shropshire, 1273) and John Polayn (Somerset, 1327). In the modern idiom the surname has six spelling variations: Pullen, Pullin, Pullan, Pulleyn and Pullein(e). In 1509, one Thomas Pullan was noted in the "Register of the Guild of the Corpus Christi in the City of York". The family Coat of Arms is an azure shield with three red escallops on a silver bend cotised, and as many black martlets on a gold chief, the Crest being a pelican on her nest all gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Pulein, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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