Debbie And Tony's Photographs And Memories The Life and Times of Debbe & Tony from Southampton, England
The Life and Times of Debbe & Tony from Southampton, England

P Is For Payne

P is for PAYNE.  That’s spelled P-A-Y-N-E don’t you know, not PAIN, PAINE, PANE or any other way, ok!

These days most people are familiar with someone who is called Payne, whether it’s a last name or a first name, like the late Payne Stewart.  They might have also come across the name through the video game Max Payne, but whatever the reason, it’s a far more common surname these days and people generally know how to spell it as well.

Growing up many (too many) years ago, even though Payne is a common surname in the UK, and 99% of the Paynes have it spelled this way, few people ever got it right.

It was not only frustrating to find that every time someone wrote your name down it was P-A-I-N-E, it was the fact that it sounded the same as P-A-I-N that really wound me up.

My early schooldays were hell, with my being called anything from “Window Pane” to “Pain In The Neck”, or in later years “Pain In The Proverbial”.  One teacher who I had when I was 11, an ex army Major, used to call me “Twinge”, as in “a twinge of pain”.  Well he thought it was funny.

But over the years, as most of us do, I got over my hangup, and in recent years nobody even makes a joke about it.

I think that anyone reading this who has a name that people can make fun of can understand what it’s like to go through school having an unusual name.

But Payne, although it’s origins mean either “Peasant” or “Pagan” depending on which book you read, is an old name, dating back to Norman times, and there are a number of famous Paynes throughout history. 

The Surnames Database has this to say about the origins of Payne:

This famous surname spelt in many forms including Pain, Payn, Payne, Paine, Paines, Paynes, Pagan, Pagon and Fitzpayn, is medieval English but of French and ultimately Roman origins. It derives from the pre 7th century personal name “Pagen”, itself from the word “paien” and the earlier Latin “paganus”. The original meaning was a villager or rustic, and later a heathen! Curiously this unusual background does not seem to have proved a bar to its popularity as a Christian name. In England it is first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, with that of Edmund filius Pagen of Somerset, whilst Reginoldus filius Pain appears in the Knight Templars (Crusader) register of Lincolnshire in 1185.

I would like to introduce you to just a few of the famous Paynes:

  • Anthony Payne – English composer born 1936.
  • Anthony Payne – the famous Cornish giant.
  • Cynthia Payne – arrested for running a chain of brothels in England.  A movie based on her story starred Julie Walters.
  • Freda Payne – singer best known for Band Of Gold.
  • John Payne – famous actor (The Restless Gun, Miracle on 34th Street).
  • King Payne – Seminole Indian Chief.

There are many more famous Paynes, and in fact a Payne was one of the early settlers in the New World, so there have been Paynes in the USA since the middle of the sixteenth century.

I am sure you also know at least one Payne, wherever you are in the world.  We do have a habit of getting about…

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