Recorded as Peacock, Pocock, Peacocke, Peecock and Pacock, this is an early English surname. It derives from the pre 7th Century word "peacocc", meaning literally a peacock, and was originally either an occupational name for a breeder of these famous birds, or a nickname for a man who wore especially bright clothes or possibly given the robust humour of the Middle Ages, the complete reverse! Interestingly Pecoc as a personal name, there were few if any surnames before the 12th century, is first recorded in the Domesday Book for the county of Essex in 1086. The surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include Richard Pocok in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset in 1225, and Robert Pecok, in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex in 1327. Post medieval recordings include William Peacock who sailed from the port of London on the ship "Hopewell" bound for Virginia, New England, in 1635. He was one of the early settlers to enter what was to become ultimately America. Other interesting recordings include William Peacocke in the register of students of Oxford University in 1610, and the marriage of Edward Pocock and Ann Rogers on February 6th 1645, at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Paucoc. This was dated 1194, in the pipe rolls of the county of Cornwall, during the reign of King Richard 1st known to history as "Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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