Penix History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The illustrious surname Penix finds its origin in the rocky, sea swept coastal area of southwestern England known as Cornwall. Although surnames were fairly widespread in medieval England, people were originally known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted is extremely interesting. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Lords and their tenants often became known by the name of the feudal territory they owned or lived on. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People at the time that surnames first came into use. Local surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Penix is a local type of surname and the Penix family lived in Cornwall, in the parish of St. Pinnock. "Although this parish has its name graced with the prefix of saint, no records were ever known to have preserved his history. The name is in general supposed to be secular, to be founded upon local circumstances, and to have no immediate reference either to its church or tutelary guardian. At a time when Cornwall teemed with saints both native and imported, it seemed dishonorable for any district to be without one. Where a real one could not be procured, an artificial one might easily be found to supply his place. But even this easy mode was still capable of improvement. The situation of St. Pinnock is in the deanery and hundred of West. It lies about eight miles east-north-east from Lostwithiel, and about four west-south-west from Liskeard." [1]

Early Origins of the Penix family

The surname Penix was first found in the parish of St. Hilary, Cornwall where "the manor of Tregurtha or Truthwall, which extends from this into some of the neighbouring parishes, belonged to the family of Penneck at the commencement of the last century (1700's.)

By the devisees of this family this manor was sold to William Carne, Esq. and the late Thomas Grylls, Esq.; and it is now the property of the former, and of the representatives of the latter. Tregembo belonged formerly to the family of Grosse, from whom it passed by successive sales to King and Penneck. It was purchased by the latter in the year 1684; after which it became the residence of this family. It is now occupied by the Rev. Humphrey Williams. From Charles Penneck, Esq. this property passed to his two sisters, one of whom was married to the Rev. William Borlase, of Castle Horneck, and the other to John Bingham Borlase, M. D." [1]

Early History of the Penix family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Penix research. Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Penix History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Penix Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Pinnock, Pincock, Pinnick, Pinock, Pinoke and others.

Early Notables of the Penix family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Penix Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Penix migration to the United States +

An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Penix:

Penix Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • J. E. Penix, aged 46, who landed in America, in 1907
  • Katherine Penix, aged 17, who settled in Lexington, Tennessee, in 1921
  • Magdalena Penix, aged 0, who immigrated to Lexington, Tennessee, in 1921

Contemporary Notables of the name Penix (post 1700) +

  • Eunice Penix (b. 1941), American politician, Mayor Pro-Tem of Dade City, Florida
  • Amanda Rochelle Penix (b. 1978), American model, Miss Oklahoma Teen USA (1997)


  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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