This English occupational name of POYNTER, found mainly in East Anglia, was originally derived from the Latin word 'puncta' meaning to pierce. It was used of a worker with a kind of lace used to fasten together the doublet and hose. The name may also have been used as a building term. In medieval times, in roofing, the layers of tiles overlapped and the lowest layers, and sometimes all the layers were pointed or rendered with mortar. This was called 'pointing' in 1265, and the slaters doing this work may well have been called pointers. 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. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Richard le Puintur, who was documented in the year 1206 in Berkshire, and Richard le Puintur was recorded in 1213 in County Kent. Robert Pontyer of County Somerset was recorded in the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Later instances of the name mention William, son of Andrew Poynter who was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1607, and John Poynter of London, registered at Oxford University in the year 1617. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Arms registered at London, Lincoln's Inn and Middlesex Granted in the year 1694.
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