Recorded in the spellins of Pie, Pye, Pyman and Pyer, this intriguing name is of early medieval English origin, and has a number of distinct interpretations. Firstly, it can be a nickname for a cheeky, talkative person. This derivation is from the magpie, formerly in Middle English and Old French "pye or pie". Over 15% of early English and Continental surnames were created from the habitual use of nicknames. The modern English name of the bird is not found before the 17th Century, and is from an earlier dialect name, "maggot-pie", formed by the addition of a diminutive form of the female given name Margaret. Secondly, the name particularly as Pyer, may be a metonymic occupational surname for a baker or seller of pies, from the Middle English "pie"; one Peter Piebakere was recorded in Essex in 1320, and Adam le Piemakere appeared in the London Subsidy Rolls of 1332 and Robertus Pyer, also of London, in 1377. Finally, Pye may be of Welsh origin, a patronymic surname formed from a reduced form of the Welsh patronymic prefix "ap, ab" with the male given name "Hugh", from the Germanic element "hug", heart, mind, spirit. Examples of the name recording include the marriage of Thomas Pye at St. Michael's, Cornhill, London, in 1594, and Otwell Pye, in the register of Oxford University in 1615. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Pie, which was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire". This was during the reign of Henry 11 of England, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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