PEN was a locational name 'the dweller at the pinfold' a pound for strayed animals, from residence nearby. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name also implies that the original bearer of the name would have looked after the animals. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. Early records of the name mention William de la Pen, 1273 County Suffolk. Richard Penne registered at Oxford University in the year 1513. John Collings married Mary Penfold at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1769. The state of Pennysylvannia was founded in 1681, by an English Quaker, William Penn (1644-1718), who was born in London into a family of Gloucestershire origin. His grandfather was a merchant and sea-captain, and his father was an admiral on the Parliamentry side during the Civil War, who later served King Charles 11. after the restoration. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired.
The name is also spelt Penne.