Blazons & Genealogy Notes
Ar. three millpicks (another, pickaxes) gu.
Ar. three millpicks (another, pickaxes) gu.
This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a geographical surname from the place called “Pickworth” in Lincolnshire. The placename was first noted in the Domesday Book of 1086 as “Picheuuorde,” and by 1170 as “Pickewurtha.” The origin is from the Olde English pre 7th Century particular name “Pica”, perhaps originally a nickname for a tall thin person, from a Germanic component meaning “sharp” or “pointed”, with “worth”, or “wyrth”, having the early meaning of fence or building and after that a fenced, surrounded home. The wedding of John Pickforthe and Rachell Browne noted on the July 1566 at New Sleaford in Lincolnshire.
More common variations are: Pickworrth, Pickwrth, Bickworth, Peckworth Packworth, Beckworth, Buckworth, Backworth, Buckoworth, Buckwoorth.
The surname Pickworth first appeared in Lincolnshire where they held a family seat as Kings of the Palace. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having command over King Harold, given most of Britain to his many successful Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a priest, with 60 or more Lordships divided all over the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They picked the Norman system of surnames which recognized the under-tenant with his holdings so as to separate him from the senior stem of the family. After many revolutionary wars between his Barons, Duke William, ordered a census of all England to decide in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the poll the Domesday Book, showing that those holders recorded would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the residents of the lands of Pickworth held by the priest of Durham.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Wyll Pecworthe, christened, dated about 1561, in the “Great and Little Hale,” Lincolnshire. It was during the time of Queen Elizabeth I who was known to be the “Good Queen Bess,” dated 1558 – 1603. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.
Many of the people with surname Pickworth had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
Some of the people with the name Pickworth who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included John Pickworth and his wife Anne Pickworth, who came to Massachusetts in 1631. John Pickworth, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637. Ruth Pickworth, who came to Salem, Massachusetts in 1663. Benjamin Pickworth, who arrived in Virginia in 1682.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Pickworth: England 409; Australia 234; United States 203; South Africa 110; New Zealand 76; Scotland 26; Canada11; Zimbabwe 5; France 2; Afghanistan 1.
Brian Pickworth (born 1929), is a New Zealand fencer.
Ossie Pickworth (1918–1969), was an Australian golfer.
The main device (symbol) in the Pickworth blazon is the pickaxe. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and argent.
Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”1The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 2Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).3A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
The pickaxe is not a weapon of war but a tool of the builder and its appearance in a coat of arms is more likely to denote the profession of the holder or be some play on words on the family name. 6A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Axe it is shown conventionally as a wooden handle with a long, curved metal spike, very similar to its appearance today. 7A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P268
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36|
|2.||↑||Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52|
|3.||↑||A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154|
|4.||↑||Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53|
|5.||↑||A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11|
|6.||↑||A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Axe|
|7.||↑||A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P268|