Pemray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Pemray was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Pemray family lived in Devon. Their name, however, is a reference to La Pommeroie, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The name of this place translates as from the French as apple orchard. [1]

More specifically, the name is derived from "pomme-roi, a kind of apple, the royal apple, king's apple, or king of apples; a name probably given to a gardener for his skill in raising them, or a name of place where such apples were raised." [2]

The family was the "Castellans of La Pommeraie, Normandy (De Gerville, Anciens Châteaux de la Manche). 'A fragment of this Norman stronghold still remains in the cinglais, not far from Falaise. It is there called Château Ganne Ganelon's Castle, a name given in Normandy to more than one such ruin. It is really the Château de la Pommeraie, and here, no doubt, was the original pomeraie or orchard which gave name to the stronghold and the family." [3]

Early Origins of the Pemray family

The surname Pemray was first found in Devon where "the ancient family of Pomeray founded by the Norman continued to possess the Barony of Berry, until the attainder of Sir Thomas Pomeroy in the reign of Edward VI. They had intermarried with heiresses or co-heiresses of Vallefort, Merton, Bevill, and Denzell. Younger branches were of Sandridge and Ingeston, Devon, and of Pallice, co. Cork." [4]

"The parish of S. Sauveur de la Pommeraye, in the department of La Manche, Normandy, gave name to a great family mentioned in Domesday Book, and by Brompton; and they in turn conferred it upon Berry Pomeroy, co. Devon." [5]

Another source provides more details: " Two of the name-Hugue and Raoul de la Pomeraie are on the Dives Roll. Ralph appears in Domesday [Book] holding sixty manors de Wife; all of them, with only two exceptions, in Devonshire, where Berry Pomeroy became the head of his barony. He first built the castle whose ruins nobly crown its precipitous hill. His successor, William, had a younger son named Ethelward, who founded Buckfast Abbey in the time of Henry I., and whose name suggests an alliance with some Saxon house, but the earlier intermarriages are not given. The elder brother, Henry, ' taking heart at the imprisonment of Richard I. by the Duke of Austria,' declared for Prince John, garrisoned his castle of Berry-Pomeroy, and chased the monks from the famous Cornish monastery of 'St. Michael of the danger of the sea,' which had been granted by the Earl of Mortaine in 1070 as a cell to its namesake in Normandy." [3]

"Pomeroy is an ancient Devonshire surname, and the name of a parish (Berry Pomeroy) in that county. From the Conquest to the reign of Edward VI. the powerful and ennobled family of De Pomeroy owned the manor of Berry Pomeroy and much other property in that county." [6]

"The Castle of Berry Pomeroy, shrouded in dense woods on a bold bluff above a feeder of the little river Hems, is the finest ruin left in Devon. The Berry naturally indicates the presence of some defensive works in early times; and perhaps Alric, its last Saxon owner, had his chief ' strength ' here, seeing that Ralph de Pomeroy, to whom it was given with fifty-eight other lordships by the Conqueror, built a castle at Berry, and made it the seat of his barony. A great family, and of wide-reaching influence, did the Pomeroys become ; and for nearly five centuries they continued in the front rank of Devonshire landowners, though they ceased to be summoned to Parliament in the closing years of the reign or Henry III. A few vicissitudes they had, but still they retained their estates, and no badge in Devon was held in greater honour than the Pomeroy lion, until the fatal day when Sir Thomas Pomeroy, the last Pomeroy lord of Berry, placed himself at the head of the Western Rebellion in the reign of Edward VI. ; and with the failure of the movement lost all his estates, though he saved his life. Berry then passed to the Seymours, in whom it still remains, probably by purchase." [7]

Early History of the Pemray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pemray research. Another 252 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1114, 1102, 1347, 1416, 1446, 1442, 1496, 1473, 1503, 1566, 1547, 1529 and 1593 are included under the topic Early Pemray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pemray Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Pomeroy, Pomrey, Pomroy, Pomry and others.

Early Notables of the Pemray family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John de la Pomeroy (1347-1416), who married Joan de Merton, daughter and co-heir of Richard de Merton and widow of John Bampfield of Poltimore; Edward I de Pomeroy (d.1446), grandson of Thomas the 5th son of Sir Henry by Joan Moels; Sir Richard de Pomeroy (1442-1496), Sheriff of Devon in 1473, a...
Another 61 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pemray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Pemray family to Ireland

Some of the Pemray family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Pemray family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Pemray or a variant listed above: Eltweed Pomeroy, who settled with his wife in Nantasket in 1630; James Pomeroy and Theophilus Pomeroy, who settled in Barbados in 1685; John Pomroy, who settled in Annapolis in 1723.



The Pemray 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: Virtutis fortuna comes
Motto Translation: Fortune is the companion of valour


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  4. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  6. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  7. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital


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