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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Pryor family come from? What is the English Pryor family crest and coat of arms? When did the Pryor family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Pryor family history?

Pryor is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a name for a monastic official immediately subordinate to an abbot having derived from the Old English word prior, meaning superior, and indicates that the original bearer of the name held this position.


A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Prior, Pryor and others.

First found in Derbyshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pryor research. Another 153 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1125, 1664, 1721, 1680, 1751 and are included under the topic Early Pryor History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 43 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pryor Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Pryor family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 153 words(11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Pryor or a variant listed above:

Pryor Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Pryor, who landed in Maryland in 1663
  • Mary Pryor, who arrived in Virginia in 1664
  • Joane Pryor, who arrived in Maryland in 1665

Pryor Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Edward Pryor, aged 45, landed in Maryland in 1812
  • Joseph Pryor, who landed in America in 1831


  • Mark Pryor (b. 1963), American politician, U.S. Senator from Arkansas (2003-)
  • Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (1940-2005), American Emmy and five-time Grammy Award winning stand-up comedian
  • Snooky Pryor (1921-2005), African-American blues musician
  • Cactus Pryor (b. 1923), Texan humorist and broadcaster
  • Arthur Pryor (1870-1942), American trombonist and bandleader
  • Greg Pryor (b. 1949), American baseball player
  • Roger Pryor (1828-1919), American newspaper editor and politician, New York state judge
  • Nicholas Pryor (b. 1935), born Nicholas David Probst, is an American film and television actor
  • Aaron Pryor (b. 1955), American former boxer, World Junior Welterweight Champion from 1980 to 1985, inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996
  • Rain Pryor (b. 1969), American actress and comedian, daughter of Richard Pryor



  • The Pryors, American Pioneers by John H. Cunningham.
  • A Study in Lineage of the Wiley Pryor Family of the Carolinas by Melvin B. Johnson.
  • A Wilson_Pryor Lineage by Gloria Stracke.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Speriamo
Motto Translation: We hope



  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Pryor Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Pryor Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 14 July 2014 at 18:39.

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