This interesting name is of Old French origin, introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. It can be either a metonymic occupational surname for one who bred horses or was responsible for keeping them, or a nickname for a frisky, high-spirited person. The derivation is from the Old French word "poulain", meaning colt, young horse, from the Latin "pullamen", a derivative of "pullus", young animal. It was a common medieval practice to create a surname from a nickname, and there are many instances of these from animal and bird names, such as Catt, Doe, Hawk and Lamb. The name development has included: Geoffrey Poleyn (1266, Somerset); Thomas Pullan (1509, Yorkshire); and John Pullen (1607, Yorkshire), and the modern surname can be found as Pullen, Pullein(e), Pulleyn, Pullin and Pullan. Robert Pullen (died 1147), the philosopher, theologian and Cardinal was the second master known to have taught in the schools at Oxford in the 12th Century. A Coat of Arms granted to a Pullen family of Yorkshire depicts, on a blue shield, on a bend cotised gold, as many martlets, black. 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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