The first family to use the name Pearless lived in the area that was once the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. It is a name for a person at a royal court who was in charge of the tablecloths and linen, which were collectively called the napery.
, in the reign of Henry I, William de Hastings held the manor of Ashele in Norfolk
by the service of taking charge of the napery, i.e. tablecloths and linen at the coronation of the English kings. The first record of the name in Scotland
is c. 1290 when John Naper obtained from Malcolm, earl of Lennox
, a charter of the quarter-land called Kylmethew." CITATION[CLOSE]
Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
Early Origins of the Pearless family
The surname Pearless was first found in Perthshire
(Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland
. "A Scottish legend, however, assigns a widely different origin. In a great battle between the Scots and some enemy, whose nation is not specified, the former were on the point of losing the day, when one Donald, son of the then Earl of Lennox
, seized a standard, and rallied the retreating soldiers. This act of prowess changed the positions of the combatants, and resulted in the complete triumph of the Scots. The king on hearing of Donald's bravery, declared that he had NA PIER "no equal"; commanded him to assume those words as a surname; and gave him lands in Fife
, and the lands of Goffurdor Goosford." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
This "legend" may not be a legend but in fact based on truth as both aforementioned versions of the family's origin agree that the family descend from the house of Lennox
and their forebears used the name Lenox alias Napier. Yet another source claims that "It is said that Donald, a son of the Earl of Lennox, for his bravery in battle, had his name changed by the king to Napier. After the battle, as the manner is, every one advancing and setting forth his own acts, the king said unto them, 'Ye have all done valiantly, but there is one among you who hath 'Na Pier, ' ' and the king gave him lands in Fife
and Goffurd. " CITATION[CLOSE]
Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
Suffice to say, the family's allegiance and fierce battle strength without fear, cannot be in question. Further to the south, the Hundredorum Rolls
of 1273 had two entries for the family, both in Oxfordshire: Jordan le Nappere and Thomas le Nappere. CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
Early History of the Pearless family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pearless research.Another 489 words (35 lines of text) covering the years 1280, 1294, 1308, 1401, 1437, 1440, 1451, 1550, 1610, 1550, 1617, 1560, 1637, 1603, 1661, 1625, 1660, 1606, 1673, 1683, 1642, 1700, 1690, 1698, 1700 and are included under the topic Early Pearless History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Pearless Spelling Variations
Translation in medieval times was an undeveloped science and was often carried out without due care. For this reason, many early Scottish names appeared radically altered when written in English. The spelling variations
of Pearless include Napier, Naper, Napper, Naiper, Napeer, Neaper and others.
Early Notables of the Pearless family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan
from early times was George Napper (Napier) (1550-1610), an English Roman Catholic priest, a Catholic martyr, beatified by Pope Pius XI; John Napier (1550-1617), a famed mathematician and inventor of logarithms, this eighth laird of Merchiston was also extremely involved in religious debates (he was a staunch... Another 130 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pearless Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Pearless family to Ireland
Some of the Pearless 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 Pearless family to the New World and Oceana
Many settled along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. As the American War of Independence
broke out, those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these hardy Dalriadan-Scottish settlers began to recover their collective history in the 20th century with the advent of the vibrant culture fostered by highland games and Clan
societies in North America. Highland games, clan societies, and other organizations generated much renewed interest in Scottish heritage in the 20th century. The Pearless were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown: Patrick Napier settled in Virginia in 1655; John Napier settled in Philadelphia in 1798; Charles Napier settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1823.
The Pearless Motto
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: Sans tache
Motto Translation: Without stain