Poulain History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Poulain comes from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It was a name for a young buck; it is derived from the Old French word poulain, which meant colt. This nickname would have been given to a person given over to friskiness and possessed of a certain nervous energy in much the same way a young horse is. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character. Often nicknames described strong traits or attributes that people wished to emulate in a specific animal. In the pre-Christian era, many pagan gods and demigods were believed to be a mixture of animals and humans, such as the Greek god Pan who was the god of flocks and herds and was represented as a man with the legs, horns and ears of a goat. In the Middle Ages, anthropomorphic ideas, which attributed human qualities and form to gods or animals, were held about the characters of other living creatures. They were based on the creature's habits. Moreover, these associations were reflected in folk-tales, mythology, and legends which portrayed animals behaving as humans.

Early Origins of the Poulain family

The surname Poulain was first found in Yorkshire but one of the earliest record of the name was Robert Pullen (died 1146), an English theologian and official of the Roman Catholic Church. He is generally thought to have been born in Poole, Devonshire and first educated in England. He was Archdeacon of Rochester in 1134. Shortly after this appointment, he went to Paris. There, he taught logic and theology tutoring John of Salisbury, who describes him as a man commended both by his life and his learning in 1141. Back in France, we found that John and Ivo Polain were listed in Normandy (1185-1190.) A few years later nine of the name were listed there in 1198 [1]

Early History of the Poulain family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Poulain research. Another 60 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1598, 1667, 1690, 1598, 1667, 1517, 1565, 1631, 1714, 1654, 1657, 1648, 1713 and 1758 are included under the topic Early Poulain History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Poulain Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Poulain has undergone many spelling variations, including Pulleine, Pullen, Pullan, Pulleyn, Pulling and many more.

Early Notables of the Poulain family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Samuel Pullen, Pullein, or Pulleyne (1598-1667), an English prelate, Archbishop of Tuam, son of William Pullein, rector of Ripley, Yorkshire; Benjamin Pulleyn (died 1690) the Cambridge tutor of Isaac Newton; Samuel Pullen (also Pullein and Pulleyne) (1598-1667), who was the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Tuam; and Henry-Percy Pulleine who purchased Crake Hall. John Pullain (Pullayne or Pulleyne) (1517-1565) was a Yorkshire divine and poet who was educated at New College, Oxford. Josiah Pullen (1631-1714) was Vice-Principal...
Another 84 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Poulain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Poulain migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Poulain were among those contributors:

Poulain Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Philip Poulain, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1812

Contemporary Notables of the name Poulain (post 1700) +

  • Jean Le Poulain (1924-1988), French stage actor and stage director
  • Corinne Le Poulain (1948-2015), French actress, niece of actor Jean Le Poulain
  • Gaston Élie Poulain (1927-2015), French Roman Catholic bishop
  • Gabriel Poulain, French champion cyclist who made several attempts to achieve human-powered flight and in July 1921 won a prize of 10,000 francs awarded by Peugeot
  • Michel Poulain (b. 1947), Belgium astrophysicist
  • Benoît Poulain (b. 1987), French professional footballer
  • André Poulain, French cyclist who competed in four events at the 1908 Summer Olympics
  • Hervé Poulain (b. 1940), retired French racing driver, author, and auctioneer


The Poulain Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Nulla pallescere culpa
Motto Translation: To turn pale from no crime.


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)


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