Perceval History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Perceval is a name that was brought to England by the ancestors of the Perceval family when they migrated to the region after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Perceval family lived in Somerset. The name, however, is a reference to one of two towns named Percevill, in Calvados, Normandy, where the family lived prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

Early Origins of the Perceval family

The surname Perceval was first found in Somerset. "Robert, Lord of Breherval, in Normandy, and his son Ascelin Gouel de Percival, both fought under the Norman banner at Hastings, and both obtained many extensive manors in the conquered country. " [1]

Another source ventures into more detail. "Sir Richard, the fifth and youngest son of William Lupellus or Louvel and the only one of his brothers who transmitted the original surname of De Percheval or Perceval to his posterity, was portioned by his father with lands in Stawel in Somerset, and many other estates, which descended to his posterity, the successive lords of Weston-in-Gordano. This Sir Richard de Perceval attended King Richard I in his expedition into Palestine, A.D. 1190, where, being a person of uncommon strength and valour, he dis­tinguished himself in several fierce engagements. In one of them, it is said, that having lost his leg, he undauntedly continued on horseback till he also lost his arm, and that even then, with the horse's bridle in his teeth, he persisted to deal slaughter round him till he fell by loss of blood. Notwithstanding this tradition, it is certain that he lived to return home, and was buried in the church of Weston, under a superb monument which was destroyed in the civil wars of the seventeenth century." [2]

Eluding to the aforementioned Normandy reference, we found early records of the family in Camborne, Cornwall, one of the first points of land in England from Normandy. "The altar-piece, [at Camborne Church] which is exceedingly magnificent, is of Sienna marble. This was erected in the year 1761, at the expence of Samuel Percival, Esq. whose lady brought to him the inheritance of Pendarves. By Mrs. Grace Percival, the lady of the above Samuel Percival, Esq. a school was founded for the instruction of twelve boys and eight girls, in reading, writing, and arithmetic." [3]

Early History of the Perceval family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Perceval research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1089, 1550, 1620, 1561, 1601, 1550, 1515, 1501, 1605, 1647, 1625, 1628, 1629, 1641, 1642, 1661, 1661, 1683, 1748, 1733, 1261, 1285 and 1312 are included under the topic Early Perceval History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Perceval Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Perceval have been found, including Perceval, Percival, Percevale, Percivall and others.

Early Notables of the Perceval family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Perceval (1550-1620), English colonist and politician, was eldest son of George Perceval or Percival (1561-1601), a large landed proprietor of Somerset. John Perceval ( fl. 1550) was a Carthusian author who studied philosophy at both Oxford and Cambridge. Another John Percival (d. 1515?) took the degree of divinity at Oxford about 1501, and became shortly afterwards forty-seventh provincial of the Franciscans in England. Sir Philip Perceval (1605-1647), was an English politician from Tickenham, Somerset. After his father and older brother's death he moved to the family estates in Ireland. "In 1625 he was made keeper...
Another 168 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Perceval Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Perceval family to Ireland

Some of the Perceval family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 118 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Perceval migration to the United States +

For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Perceval were among those contributors:

Perceval Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Perceval, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812 [4]
  • Charles Perceval, aged 40, who settled in America, in 1896
Perceval Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Agnes Perceval, aged 46, who landed in America from London, in 1906
  • Robert Perceval, aged 36, who landed in America from Perth, Scotland, in 1909
  • Percival James Perceval, aged 41, who settled in America from Banstead, Essex, England, in 1913
  • Chester Perceval, aged 42, who immigrated to the United States from Eaton, England, in 1914
  • Ellanor Perceval, aged 37, who immigrated to America from Eaton, England, in 1914
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Perceval migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Perceval Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mary Ann Perceval, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in Malborough aboard the ship "Gainsborough" in 1878
  • Miss Mary Ann Perceval, (b. 1856), aged 21, Cornish general servant departing on 3rd November 1877 aboard the ship "Gainsborough" going to Marlborough, New Zealand arriving in port on 28th January 1878 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Perceval (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Perceval (1740-1804), English physician and author, born at Warrington, Lancashire
  • Thomas Perceval (1719-1762), English antiquary, son of Richard Percival of Royton Hall, near Oldham, Lancashire
  • Spencer Perceval (1762-1812), English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1809-1812), Chancellor of the Exchequer (1807-1812), Leader of the House of Commons (1807-1812)
  • Robert Perceval (1765-1826), Irish traveller and writer
  • Robert Perceval (1756-1839), Irish physician and chemist, youngest son of William Perceval, born in Dublin, descended from Sir Philip Perceval
  • Arthur Philip Perceval (1799-1853), British chaplain to George IV, and continued royal chaplain to William IV and Queen Victoria until his death
  • Alexander Perceval (1788-1858), Irish-born, British politician, sergeant-at-arms of the House of Lords, second son of the Rev. Philip Perceval of Temple House, Ballymote, co. Sligo
  • John Perceval (1711-1770), English politician, 2nd Earl of Egmont
  • John Perceval (1923-2000), Australian artist
  • Robert Perceval Armitage (1906-1990), British colonial administrator, Governor of Cyprus (1954-1955), Governor of Nyasaland (1956-1961)


The Perceval 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: Sub cruce candida
Motto Translation: Under the white cross.


  1. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to other ports, 1872 - 84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf


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