This interesting and unusual surname is a variant of Peacock, which is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from a nickname for a vain, strutting person, or for a dandy. The nickname is derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "pe, pa, po", peacock, from the Old English pre 7th Century "pea, pawa", and the Old Norse "pa"; these are derived from the Latin "pavo", the Middle English "cok", male bird, from the Old English "cocc", was added later. This is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, habits of dress, and occupation. In some cases the name may be from a house distinguished by the sign of the peacock. The modern surname can be found as Peacock, Peacocke, Peecock, Pacock, Pococke, Poe and Pea. The most famous namebearer was Edgar Allen Poe (1809 - 1849), the American short-story writer, poet and critic, whose book "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841) is regarded as the first modern detective story. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Paucoc, which was dated 1194, in the "Pipe Rolls of Cornwall", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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.