This interesting and unusual surname is a variant form of Purchase which is an English metonymic occupational name for an official, responsible for obtaining the supplies required by a monastery or manor house, so called from the Anglo-Norman French "purchaser" to acquire or buy. It may also come from the Old French word "purchas", pursuit, which was used as a name for messengers and couriers. The surname dates from the late 12th Century, (see below). Geoffrey Purcaz is listed in the "Curia Rolls of Essex", in 1206.Roger Purchas is recorded in the "Eynsham Cartulary" of Oxford in 1239. Another early recording is for one John Purkace, mentioned in the "Hundred Rolls" of Lincolnshire in 1273. The surname in the modern idiom is found in various forms, including Purches, Purkess, Purkis, Pirkis, Porkiss and Porcas. The name is widespread in the county of Essex frequently found in church records of the county. Robert Purkiss married Elizabeth Philpot on July 1th 1747 at Lincoln's Inn Chapel, Holborn, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Purchaz, which was dated 1190, Pipe Rolls of Essex, during the reign of King Richard 1, "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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