Peerless History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Peerless was first used centuries ago in the region that was once the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. It was 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 England, 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. This John Naper is included in the inhibition by the bishop of Glasgow directed against Malcolm, earl of Lennoy and his adherents in 1294 and is doubtless the John le Naper of the county of Dunbretan who rendered homage in 1296." 
Early Origins of the Peerless family
The surname Peerless 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." 
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. " 
Suffice to say, the family's allegiance and fierce battle strength without fear, cannot be in question. Further to the south in England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had two entries for the family, both in Oxfordshire: Jordan le Nappere and Thomas le Nappere. 
Early History of the Peerless family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Peerless research. Another 316 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1280, 1294, 1308, 1401, 1437, 1440, 1451, 1451, 1239, 1550, 1617, 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 Peerless History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Peerless Spelling Variations
Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents Peerless has been spelled Napier, Naper, Napper, Naiper, Napeer, Neaper and others.
Early Notables of the Peerless 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 anti-Catholic) and was an inventor of military devices, such as a horse-drawn tank and a type of submarine; Sir Robert Napier, 1st Baronet (1560-1637), of Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire, an English merchant; Sir Robert Napier, 2nd Baronet (c. 1603-1661), of...
Another 90 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Peerless Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Peerless family to Ireland
Some of the Peerless family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 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 Peerless family
These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The Peerless were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: 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.
Contemporary Notables of the name Peerless (post 1700) +
- Peerless Price (b. 1976), American football wide receiver
Related Stories +
The Peerless 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
- ^ 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)
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)