This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and derives from a pet form of the male given name "Peter", with the "t" softened into a "d". Peter itself is from the Greek "Petros", the masculine form of "petra", which is the Greek word for "rock". The name was extremely popular throughout Christian Europe in the Middle Ages, as it had been bestowed by Christ as a byname on the apostle Simon bar Johan, the brother of Andrew. St. Peter is regarded as the founding father of the Christian Church in view of Christ's comment, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church". Peter is first recorded in England in Latin, as found in the Domesday Book of 1086, but the normal form became "Piers", an early form of the French "Pierre". In the modern idiom the surname, with softened d, can be found as Pead, Peed, Peade and Peede. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of William Peede and Jane Laurence at Tottenham, in February 1574; the marriage of Margaret Peade and Thomas Boulton on July 10th 1608, at Enfield; and the christening of John, son of James Pead, at St. Bartholomew the Great, on July 20th 1618. One of the earliest settlers in the New World was John Pead, aged 35 yrs., who is recorded as "living" in Virginia in 1624; he went there in 1622 aboard the "Southamton". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edward Pede, which was dated January 20th 1571, a christening witness at the Church of St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.