Show ContentsPoer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Poer came to England with the ancestors of the Poer family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Poer family lived in Devon. Their name, however, is a reference to one of two places, Picardy, France, or Puers, Belgium, either of which could have been the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. At this time those who hailed from Picardy were referred to as Pohiers, and it was in this form that the name was probably first brought to England.

Another source notes "Poore was the equivalent not of 'pauper,' but of 'puer' or the Norman 'poer,' a knight or cadet of good family." [1]

Early Origins of the Poer family

The surname Poer was first found in Devon. However, some of the family held a family seat at Durrington in Wiltshire since early times. "The church [of Durrington] is an ancient edifice with a pulpit of richly carved oak, and several of the pews are also embellished with carving, particularly the family pew of the Poores, which has a ceiling of oak, with an escutcheon of armorial bearings." [2]

Roger le Poer (died 1186), was "one of the conquerors of Ireland, belonged to a family which is said to have derived its name from Poher, one of the ancient divisions of Brittany. In the reign of Henry II, William le Poer held lands in Oxfordshire, Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire, and Robert le Poer in Oxfordshire. Roger, Robert, William, and Simon le Poer are all said to have taken part in the conquest of Ireland." [1]

His son Robert le Poer (fl. 1190), was one of the marshals in the court of Henry II.

About the same time, Herbert Poor or Pauper (died 1217), was Bishop of Salisbury, son of Richard of Ilchester and a few years later, his younger brother, Richard Poor, Poore, Poure or Le Poor (died 1237) was Bishop of Chichester, Salisbury, and Durham.

Walter le Poher was found in Lincolnshire in 1162 and later, Hugo le Puhier was listed in the Pipe Rills for Shropshire (Salop) in 1166. Hugo Puher was found in the puipe Rolls for Worcestershire in 1170 and in Northumberland, John le Poer was listed in the Feet of Fines for 1199. In Derbyshire, Roger le Puiher was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls for 1204. [3]

"Geoffrey and William Pouere, customary tenants of the Bishop of Ely at Wetheringsett (Suffolk) in 1221 (ElyA) were not likely to be Picards. In London, Henry Puer or Poer (1300 LoCt) was probably of this nationality, but whether Geoffrey le Power (1299 ib.) and John le Poer (1300 ib.) came from Picardy or were nicknamed 'the poor' cannot be determined." [3]

Early History of the Poer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Poer research. Another 221 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1100, 1702, 1640, 1580, 1797, 1237 and 1217 are included under the topic Early Poer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Poer Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Poor, Poher, Poer, Poore and others.

Early Notables of the Poer family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Poore or Poor (died 1237), a medieval English clergyman best known for founding of Salisbury Cathedral. He was probably the son of Richard of Ilchester, also known as Richard Toclive, who served as...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Poer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Poer family to Ireland

Some of the Poer 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.

United States Poer migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Poer or a variant listed above:

Poer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anthony Poer, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1712 [4]

The Poer 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: Pauper non in spe
Motto Translation: Not poor in hope.

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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) on Facebook