Pickings History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Pickings is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Pickings family lived in "Pinkeny, Pinkenay, or Pinquigny, now Picuigny, a town in Picardy, in the neighbourhood of Amiens, that in later times was erected into a Duchy for the honour of Chaulnes. A castle that had existed there as early as the eighth century became the head of a barony that gave its name to one of the greatest houses in the North of France, maternally derived from Charlemagne (Bouquet, Ord. Vit.). Many of the nobles of Picardy followed the Conqueror, and among them were several of the De Picquignys. William Fitz Ansculph is one of the great landowners of Domesday, holding eleven baronies in different counties, comprising one hundred manors ; many of them inherited from his father Ansculph, Viscount of Surrey, who had died before 1086 : and from two other passages in the same record, it is ascertained that their name was ' Pinchingi.' " [1]

Another source claims the family is from Picquigny, in Somme, Normandy. [2]

Early Origins of the Pickings family

The surname Pickings was first found in Northampton where the family claim descent from Gilo de Pincheni, who lived in the reign of Henry I. He was granted by the monks of St. Lucien in France lands at Wedon. [3]

Wulfhere, the first Christian king of Mercia, had a palace here, which, after his death, was converted by his daughter Werburgh into a nunnery, of which she became abbess, and which was destroyed by the Danes in the ninth century. [4]

Ansculfus de Pinchengi was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as holding lands in Berkshire. [5]

"' Gilo frater Ansculfi,' is also entered in Domesday as holding in capite in four counties ; in Northamptonshire his barony of Wedon was called from him Wedon-Pinkney, and in the time of his grandson Gilbert was certified to consist of fourteen and a half knights' fees. He founded a cell to the French monastery of St. Lucien at his caput honoris of Wedon. His descendant Robert de Pinkeney incurred forfeiture by taking part in the rebellion against King John, who bestowed his barony on Waleran Tyes ; but, like most of the other malcontents, was restored to favour and fortune on the accession of Henry III. Henry de Pinkeney and his son Robert were both engaged in the Welsh wars ; the former had a writ of military summons to serve against Llewellyn in 1264 ; and the latter, " being in the King's service in Wales 10 Edward I., had scutage of all his tenants by military service in the counties of Northampton, Bucks, Bedford, Essex, Hens, Warwick, Oxford, Berks, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Somerset :"-implying a wide range of possessions. He afterwards followed the King on his expedition to Gascony. We next come upon a blot on the family 'Sir John de Pinkeney was hanged in 1292 for certain thefts and depredations, and his lands seized by the King, and delivered to Sir Robert de Pinkeney, against whom Hugh de Odingsells claimed them, together with half the manor of Long Itchingham in Warwickshire, by gift of Sir John. This Sir Robert has been generally considered the son of Sir John, but there is abundant evidence to prove that he was Sir Robert Pinkeney of Wedon, the Lord of the Fee.' " [1]

Early History of the Pickings family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pickings research. Another 166 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1303, 1599 and 1674 are included under the topic Early Pickings History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pickings Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Pinkney, Pinckney, Pinkley, Pinkly, Pinkie and others.

Early Notables of the Pickings family (pre 1700)

Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pickings Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Pickings family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Pickings or a variant listed above: Henry Pinkie settled in Virginia in 1619.



  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)


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