This unusual surname recorded in the spellings of Pellman, Pillman, Poolman, Pullman and Pulman, is of English origin. It is a topographical surname, and describes a person who lived, not apparently by a pool, but by a stream or estuary. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "pyll", but pronounced "pool" and the suffix "mann" which in this case probably describes one who worked by the stream. There are several translations of "mann" ranging from friend or partner, to a trade or guild association, or servant. It all depends on the particular circumstances in which the original surname was formed. It has been claimed by researchers that there is eveidence in a few cases that the name may be locational for one who lived by a specific pool, or one of the places called Poole, in which case the derivation would be from the Old English "pol", meaning pool or tidal estuary, however this is usually the surname Pool or Poole. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of medieval England. Early examples of the name recording include Hugh Poleman in 1290, and John Polman of Essex in the 1327 rolls. John Pulman was recorded in the 1525 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, whilst in 1590 the marriage of John Pulman and Margery Mayne was recorded at Shobrooke in Devonshire. In 1642 both John Pullman and Roger Pulman were recorded in the priory charters of Devonshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Pyleman, which was dated 1286, Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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