Fitzpeter History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The distinguished surname Fitzpeter emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. One of the most common classes of surname is the patronymic surname, which was usually derived from the first name of the person's father. Flemish surnames of this type are often characterized by the diminutive suffix -kin, which became very frequent in England during the 14th century. The surname Fitzpeter is derived from the personal name Peter. This is derived from the Latin name Petrus, which in turn comes from the Greek name Petros. The word petros means rock or stone. Peter was an extremely popular personal name in medieval Europe since it was the name conferred by Christ upon the apostle Simon bar Jonah. He became St. Peter and is regarded as the founding figure of the Christian Church.
One of the first records of the name was perhaps the most important, that of Peter (died 1085), Bishop of Lichfield, Chaplain of William I, and custodian of the see of Lincoln in 1066. "In 1076 Peter was sent by Lanfranc to assist the archbishop of York in certain consecrations (Anglo-Saxon Chronicles) In 1085 he died, and was buried at Chester, being the only bishop of the earlier foundation who was buried there." 
Peter of Blois (fl. 1190) was Archdeacon of Bath and a noted author. He was born at Blois, France but his family was one of the noble families of Brittany.
Early Origins of the Fitzpeter family
The surname Fitzpeter was first found in Lincolnshire, where a bearer of Petrus was on record in the Domesday Book of 1086. Interestingly, Petrus (died 606) was the first abbot of St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, and was both a monk and a priest. He was one of the companions of St. Augustine on his mission to England in 596. 
Geoffrey FitzPeter, Earl of Essex (d. 1213), younger brother of Simon Fitzpeter, Sheriff of Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, and Bedfordshire in the reign of Henry II, was Marshal in 1165, and Justice-Itinerant in Bedfordshire in 1163. 
Peter des Roches (died 1238) was Bishop of Winchester who served under Richard I in his wars as knight and clerk, and became one of his chamberlains. A native of Poitou, France, he later served King John and was embroiled in the king's conflicts with Innocent III. 
Other early records include Ralph Peter listed in the Pipe Rolls in Hertfordshire in 1195; Luke Petre listed in London in 1282 and a William Petres listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset of 1327. 
Another branch of the family was established in early days at West Horndon in Essex. "This parish, in ancient documents called Thorndon, and Little Horndon, is remarkable for the splendid mansion of Lord Petre, named Thorndon Hall, which is beautifully situated on an eminence, surrounded by an extensive and richly wooded park." 
And early records of Padstow, Cornwall listed "the barton of Trenear or Trenarran, was for some time a seat of the family of Peter, whose ancestors, about two hundred years since, came into Cornwall and first settled here; from whence they afterwards removed to Treator; and from thence the elder branch settled at Harlyn, on marrying with the heiress of Michel of that place. Treator has been the abode of this family nearly from the time that they first settled in Cornwall." 
"In later years Tor Brian [Devon] became the cradle of the noble house of Petre. Tor Newton was the birthplace of the celebrated Sir William Petre, the most eminent of a distinguished band of brothers. First brought to Court by Cromwell, he speedily became a favourite with Henry VIII., and was one of the visitors of the religious houses. The wealth thus acquired he had wit enough to keep, obtaining under Mary, from Pope Paul IV., a confirmation of the grants of Church property made by Henry. One of the means used to this end was the promise to employ the money in a way the Church would approve ; and one of the ways adopted by him was the foundation of eight fellowships at Exeter College." 
Early History of the Fitzpeter family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fitzpeter research. Another 205 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1643, 1645, 1549, 1613, 1582, 1592, 1598, 1660, 1631, 1699, 1505, 1572, 1626, 1684, 1633, 1706, 1688, 1689, 1713, 1695, 1746, 1690, 1774, 1598, 1660, 1654, 1505, 1572, 1672, 1758, 1617, 1690, 1631, 1699, 1602, 1677, 1575, 1637, 1622, 1684, 1599, 1638, 1594, 1662, 1224, 1224 and are included under the topic Early Fitzpeter History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fitzpeter Spelling Variations
Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Peters, Peter, Petre, Petry, FitzPeter and others.
Early Notables of the Fitzpeter family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include John Petre, 1st Baron Petre (1549-1613), Lord-Lieutenant of Essex; Gerard Peeters (fl. 1582-1592), an English author, educated at Westminster School, elected scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge; Hugh Peters (or Peter) (1598-1660), an English preacher in Essex; Edward Petre (1631-1699), English Jesuit and privy councillor, a close adviser to King James II; Sir William Petre (c.1505-1572), an Oxford lawyer; William Petre, 4th Baron Petre (1626 -1684), an English peer, victim of the Popish Plot; Thomas Petre, 6th Baron Petre (1633-1706), Lord Lieutenant of Essex in 1688; Robert Petre, 7th Baron Petre (1689-1713), a British peer.
Another 172 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fitzpeter Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Fitzpeter family to Ireland
Some of the Fitzpeter family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 107 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Fitzpeter family
A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Fitzpeter: John Peter, who arrived in Virginia in 1635; David Peters settled in Georgia with his wife Eleanor and four children in 1733; Anthony, Catherine, Charles, George, Henry, John, Martin, Michael, Phillip, Simon, William Peter all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
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: Invidia major
Motto Translation: Superior to envy.
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
- ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital