Although the Irish had their own system of hereditary surnames
and the Strongbow
settlers brought with them their own Anglo-Norman naming practices, the two traditions generally worked well together. The name Porthill is an occupational
surname, a form of hereditary name that existed in both cultures long before the invaders arrived, but more common to the Anglo-Norman culture. Occupational
surnames were derived from a word describing the actual job done by the original name bearer. Early Strongbownian names of this type often used the prefix le, meaning the, in French, but the use of this prefix did not last in the language of the vernacular. The surname Porthill came from a common occupational name for a swineherd. The surname Porthill is derived from the Norman-French word porcel, which in turn comes from the Latin word porcus, which means pig or piglet. Occupational
names such as Porthill frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic
surnames. The Gaelic form of the surname Porthill is Puirséil.
Early Origins of the Porthill family
The surname Porthill was first found in Surrey
and later in County Tipperary
. As many Norman families, they accompanied Strongbow
in the Anglo- Norman invasion
in 1172. The English branch in Surrey
continued their stronghold in Surrey
for many years. As far as the Irish branch is concerned, it is generally believed that Sir Hugh Purcell, a Strongbow
knight was the progenitor of the family in Ireland
. His grandson, another Sir Hugh married Beatrix, daughter of Theobald FitzWalter, Chief Butler of Ireland
about 1204 and received Loghmoe (Loughmore,) a village in North Tipperary
as a wedding present. CITATION[CLOSE]
MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
A direct line of the family continued until 1722 with the death of Nicholas Purcell, 13th Baron
Early History of the Porthill family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Porthill research.Another 185 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1665, 1660, 1665, 1659, 1695, 1664, 1717, 1651 and 1691 are included under the topic Early Porthill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Porthill Spelling Variations
Medieval scribes and church officials often spelled the name Porthill as it sounded to them. As a result, the name Porthill, over the ages, has attained many spelling variations
including Purcell, Purcel, Pursell, Purcill, Purcells, Percell, Porcell, Percill, Persell, Percel, Pirsell, Porcill, Porsell, Purcelle, Purcele, Persells, Pursells, Purcels, Porcells, Purchell, Purscel, Purtill and many more.
Early Notables of the Porthill family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family up to this time was John Purcell (died 1665), Welsh
politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1660 to 1665; Henry Purcell (1659-1695), generally considered England's greatest composer of the Baroque era; his younger brother Daniel Purcell (1664-1717) was... Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Porthill Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Porthill family to the New World and Oceana
The Irish emigration during the late 18th and 19th century contributed to the melting pot of nationalities in North America, and the building of a whole new era of industry and commerce in what was seen as a rich, new land. Ireland's Great Potato Famine
resulted in the worst economic and social conditions in the island's history. And in response to the hunger, disease, and poverty, during this decade the total number of emigrants to leave for North America rivaled all the previous years combined. Those from this decade that arrived on North American shores were not warmly welcomed by the established population, but they were vital to the rapid development of the industry, agriculture, and infrastructure of the infant nations of the United States and what would become Canada. Research into early immigration and passenger lists has shown many people bearing the name Porthill: Joseph Purcel, who settled at Barstable in Massachusetts in 1822; Nancy Purcell and her husband and seven children settled in Quebec in 1825; Andrew, Edward, James, John, Martin, Mathew, Michael, Patrick, Peter Purcell all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870..
The Porthill 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: Aut vincam aut periam
Motto Translation: Either conquer or perish.