The surname of PECK was derived from the Old English word 'pekke' a locational name, the dweller by the peak. A locational name usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The original bearer would take his name from the village, town or the area where he dwelt. This name would identify his whole family, and would follow them wherever they moved Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage that it would add to their status. Early records of the name mention Richard Pecke, 1187 Hampshire. Henry Pecke of County Somerset, was recorded in the year 1273. Hervicus Peche, was documented in the year 1283 in County Suffolk. Ricards del Peche, of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of the year 1379. Katherine Pecke was baptised at St. Peter, Cornhill, London in 1660. The acquisition of surnames in Europe and England, during the last eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in cultures and traditions. On the whole the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working class or the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. The bulk of surnames in England were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in place names into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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