The surname of PONTER was an occupational name 'the punter' the dweller beside and the keeper of the bridge. The name was a familiar entry in medieval documents. Local names usually denoted where the original bearer of the name held his land, and where he actually lived. 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 Walter Punter who was recorded in the year 1214 in County Northumberland. Stephen le Punter was documented in County Somerset in the year 1243. Richard Ponter was documented in the year 1255 in Shropshire. John Richard Punter of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Later instances of the name include George Pounter and Alice Manning who were married at St. Peter, Cornhill, London in the year 1586. Golde, daughter of Henry Punder was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1592. Daniel Punter and Anne Kirby were married at the same church in 1730. John Punter and Ann Morris were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1795. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. The name is also spelt Poynter and Ponter.
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