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. Among the recordings of the name in London are those of the christenings of Thomas Pullin, at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, on August 16th 1604, and the marriage of John Pullin and Mary Right at St. James', Duke's Place, on November 23rd 1665. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Pulein, which was dated 1166, The Norfolk Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 11, "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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