Penman is a surname which has both literally and metaphorically travelled around a lot over the centuries. It is of Olde French origins and derives from the word "paniere" and was introduced by the Normans after the 1066 invasion. originally it probably described a maker of baskets, but in England was almost certainly job descriptive for a merchant, one who travelled carrying his or her goods in panniers. The surname is also found as Panner or Panniers which may be described as metonymics whilst the forms as Pannaman, Penman, and Pennyman are specific. The Anglo-Saxon suffix "mann" has various meanings from friend to servant or even relative, but in this case is probably an emphasis on the occupation. Early examples of the surname showing its development include William Peniman in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridge in the year 1279, and Ralph Paniman or Panyman in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Later church recordings include George and Mary Penman, who were witnesses at the christening of their daughter Elizabeth, at the church of St Botolphs without Aldgate, London on February 12th 1711, whilst on July 5th 1809, John Penman married Lucy Matchet Hamond at St James Church, Colchester, Essex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon Penyman, which was dated 1268, in the Assize Register of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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