Paine Name - Origin and Location

What does the name mean?

Paine family locations around the World

  Where do family names come from

Family names developed in different ways and as a consequence are grouped as such. The 4 main types of names are:-

Occupation :- ie the family name is derived from the occupation of the family for example Carpenter

Location :- If you lived near a Brook you might be known as Paul Brook. Locational names will often end with -hill, -ford, -wood etc.

Patronymic (Fathers name) :- These types of name often end with son such as Williamson and Jackson - these are the easy ones to spot, many are more obscure.

Characteristic :- A short person may be called Small , Short , Little. These types of name simply reflect a characteristic of an ancestor.

The Paine/Payne name

Paine/Payne : is a derivative of Pain, which is an English Patronymic name from the Middle English given name Pain. It comes from the Old French Paien , which came from Latin Paganus -- where pagus meant outlying village. To make the long story short (or to wrap up an already long explanation of its origin), Pain was a civilian instead of a soldier and lived in an outlying area. Derivatives include Paine, Payne, Payen and Payan

Joe Payne has now sent us this more detailed explanation of the Payne variation:



The English surname Paine/Payne is patronymic origin, being one of those names derived from the first name of the original bearer's father. The source of the name can be traced to the Old English word "paien", which was derived from the Latin word "paganus" meaning "rustic or countryman". It later also came to mean "heathen". The surname was often given to children whose baptism was delayed or, indeed, to adults whose religious zeal was not what it should have been. By the twelfth century, Pagan(us) was a well established first-name in England which was given without any thought to its meaning and it is thus likely that the surname Payne is of patronymic origin rather than of nickname. The surname is recorded in English documents as early as 1086. In that year one Edmund filius Pagen of Somerset is listed in the Domesday Book. In 1190 John Pane is listed in the Pipe Rolls for Worcestershire while Rotrotus Pagani is registered in the Pipe Rolls for Leicestershire. Variants of the name include Pain, Paines, Panes, Payan, Payen, Payn, Pagan and Pagon. Notable bearers of this surname include John Howard Payne (1792-1852), a dramatist and actor whose most successful plays were "Brutus or The Fall of Tarquin" and "Therese, the Orphan of Geneva".


There has been a recent exchange of e-mails (20 September 1999) on the subject on the Payne List at Rootsweb which are quoted below:

"Hugh de PAYEN...founder of the Knights Templar in Clermont, France seems
to as far back as anything I have read...

My wife, Tonia Edwards, has Payne lineage and we are both members of the
Templars in the U.S.

Chev. Edward Rach KTJ, CSSt.S, FRC, PNAF"

Contact at:


"In the book, "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" there is an appendix giving the families of Gisors,
Payen and  Saint-Clair.  Here Hugues' Father is given as Tibaud de Payen.  This must be
from a source other than the Domesday sources.  Does anyone else have any more
information or suggestions?
Jim Hickman"

Contact at:

Be sure to look at Werner Peene's web site. 
He has an interesting alternate view on the possible origin of the Payne surname.  Some of us Paynes may have been from Belgium. 
Maybe via England, maybe not...  Check out the PAYNE in England link.

Robert Payne

Contact at:


Thanks to Ronald G. Payne of Middlebury, Vermont for this new contribution:

Derivation of the name of Payne or Paine

The name Payne, Paine, or Pain is said to have been derived from the ancient
Norman baptismal name Pagen, which went into England at the time of the
Norman Conquest in the year 1066 A.D. It is found in the various forms of
Pagan, Pagen, Payen, Payan, Payene, Payn, Pain, Paine, Payne, and others of
which the last is the form most generally accepted in America today. Among
the earliest records of the family in England were those of Hugh de Pagen
(possibly son of Edmund, son of Pagen, a follower of William, the Norman

     I also seem to recall reading something about Hugh de Payen in the
Saxon Chronicle. I will look it up and see if I can find the quote.

We are indebted to Chris Payne for the following contribution to the debate:

You mention on the web page that the name Payne would have been given to someone who fell behind
in their religious observances in the late middle ages. I have always doubted this story, which appears first in the nineteenth century, for two reasons.
First it would have been very difficult to avoid involvement with the church in those days. There were serious penalties for heretics.
Second, even if it were true, no one would name themselves after their father's shortcomings.
People did not, for example, voluntarily call themselves "Bastard" or "Horsethief" because that was what their father was .
I think the name almost certainly originated from 'paganus' - a common description of country people from Roman times onwards.
What is more, it must have been a name worn with pride - it is one of the very few surnames in use at the time of the
Norman conquest before surnames started to be used by the general population.
Chris Payne

Finally, Norm Payne wrote a book on his family in 1996 and has submitted this quote together with an insight into the population of Paynes in Newfoundland
(See below under "Where in the World....")

"Often County Clerks and census takers were poor spellers so a man’s name could be changed with the stroke of a quail’s feather.
Since most early families were illiterate, they unknowingly accepted as their names, whatever was written.
For that reason we have variations on the name Payne."

Thanks to Barbara Hinz for this comment on the family name and history:

Ancient History of Distinguished Families

It is a noteworthy fact that the Payne family, in common with several other houses of antique noblesse in the province of Normandy, never used the prefix "de" to their patronymic, other than territorially. Hugh Payne, as the name was then spelled, was one of the immortal founders of the Order of the Temple. Payen de Montmuse was the Lieutenant of Richard the Lion in his eastern campaign, and proved himself by his strategy and prowess, a fit locum-tenens of the gallant monarch.

Thibaut Payen, afterwards Count of Gisors, was appointed in 1117, by the mutual consent of Louis VII of France and Henry I of England, the custodian of that town, then the key to Normandy.

Other scions of the family wandered into England, Spain, Portugal, and Italy where they speedily, made themselves names and fortunes in the lands of their adoption. Each country in which they settled gave a local flavor to their name. In Normandy they were and are known as Payen; Italy called them Payana; while England's simple translation turned Payen into Payne. In England the Paynes resided for many centuries and achieved great distinction and honor. America was not too far for this adventurous family, for we find the right hand man of Lord Fairfax was one William Payne, Esquire, whose descendants formed the head of those old Virginian Cavaliers.

The Elder Branch of the Paynes. Seven centuries ago a member of the elder branch of the Paynes settled in that insular portion of the Duchy of Normandy, the island of Jersey. He and his posterity occupied every governmental and ecclesiastical position of trust in the island. When Charles I. quarreled with his subjects, he had no stauncher supporters than the Paynes, who were the last to haul down the royal standard from the storm-torn towers of Elizabeth Castle. They ignored Cromwell and the moment the head of Charles fell at Whitehall, they proclaimed his son Charles, the King. The merry monarch twice sought an asylum in Jersey, where his first love, mademoiselle La Cloche, was a local belle. But the Paynes eventually felt the republican blast and migrated to Devonshire where they became rich and powerful. They also acquired great possessions in the West Indian Islands.

Ralph Payne (Lord Lavington a title, which is now extinct), was the witty and debonair companion of George IV. Stephen Payne was a Colonel of Horse of the Army of King Charles I and was one of those brave but unfortunate men, who strove to uphold the tottering fortunes of the Stuarts. When all was for a time lost, he thought of his native island of Jersey, where Prince Charles could not but find a hardy welcome. Col. Payne escorted Prince Charles and his brother the Duke of York to the Payne home in Jersey. Col. Payne acted generously as host to the distinguished visitors, and Lord Clarendon occupied his forced leisure by writing, in his barrack-like apartment in Elizabeth Castle, the famous "History of the Rebellion."

Source: PAYNES OF STEWARTS CREEK, SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA PIONEERS Margaret (Payne) Bromley & Richard F. Bromley



click here to read about famous people who share your name

 Where in the World do members of the Paine family live

Based on data extracted from various sources it is possible to arrive at an estimated population by country .

This table is now some years out of date and needs updating.
Please Note that the data refer only to those of us who spell our name with an "i".
We regret that the "Paynes" are not included, but if any one has the data for them we would be pleased to publish it.

Meanwhile, David Thomason tells us that Payne is the 166th most popular last name (surname) in the United States; frequency is 0.057%; percentile is 23.365 [SourceCBN]}
(we have also been asked to publish the fact that there are 6 Paynes in Madrid, Spain)

Contributions of any available new data would be appreciated. click here to e-mail us.


Country Est Population Most populous area
United States 10,200 California
Great Britain 6,300* Kent
Australia 3,000 New South Wales
Canada 900 Ontario
New Zealand 400 North Island
South Africa 51  
Northern Ireland 50 Antrim
Germany 25 Niedersachsen
Ireland 20 Dublin
Switzerland 5 Vaud
Singapore 9  
Japan 2  
Zimbabwe 4  
Netherlands 4  
World Total 20,913 United States

There will be Countries where there is a population that has not been included.
If you know of one please mail me so that I can include it.

*As far as Great Britain is concerned, we seem to have a discrepancy.
Phil Paine tells me that the 2004 Electoral Roll has just 3,046 Paines on it of whom 348 (11.4%) live in Kent.
This dosn't seem to be enough since it probably represents only about 1,500 hoouseholds.
It is possible to have your Electoral Roll entry removed from publicly accesible records, so it would seem we are a secretive lot!

If any one out there can shed any further light on this - or suggest a way of geting a really accurate figure, please e-mail me.

Our first response is from Norm Payne who writes as follows:

I spent many years researching my Payne family before writing a book.

In 1996 I did a search of all Paynes with a listed phone number in the United States.
Then I multiplied the number I found by 1.2 since I figured many people had unlisted phone numbers
and multiplied that number by 2.3 since there were 2.3 members in the average family.
After doing the multiplies I came up with the following in the United States.


Of course my research project was unscientific and I am not a statistician.

Two years ago we spent the summer in the Canadian Maritimes including 22 days in Newfoundland and Labrador.
I had read the area was settled by Paynes. We stopped in a very small town of Parsons Pond, Newfoundland (about 300 people)
and noticed a Payne's Grocery and Payne's Hardware. At the grocery we were pointed to a pub where we met many Paynes.
We found everyone in the area was either a Payne or had Payne blood.
Later in Newfoundland we stopped in another very small town and I looked at their phone directory.
It was about 20 pages thick and the Payne listing took four of those pages.
I talked to the woman who owned the campground where we were staying and she was a Payne.
She told me to take a boat trip to the next town because everyone there was a Payne.
It was an interesting trip. I have no idea how many Paynes live in Newfoundland and Labrador but I'm sure it is in the thousands.




Finally, we are also indebted to David Thomason for sending this list of
"Payne" Place Names in the US
(One County, one City and any number of Villages, Places and Populated Places):



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