Prestly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The history of the Prestly family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in or near a clearing in a wood owned by priests. Further research showed the name was derived from the Old English elements preost, which means priest, and leah, which means forest clearing. The name as a whole therefore means "dweller in or near the forest clearing owned by priests."  There are several places that have this name; they are found in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, and the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Early Origins of the Prestly family
The surname Prestly was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire where the "surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'of Priestley' (i.e the priest's meadow), some small estate in the near neighbourhood of Bradford." 
However, we must look to the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire to find the first record of the family. For it is there that Samson de Presteleia was listed in 1198. From this Latin version, the name had evolved to Richard de Presteley who was listed in Yorkshire in 1297. 
Kirby's Quest lists Walter Prestlegh in Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of Edward III's reign.)  Later, the following two entries were found at Hipperholme, near Bradford, Yorkshire during the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379: Elena de Presteley; and Johannes de Presteley. 
Another source agrees with the Yorkshire origin, but notes "the ancient seat and inheritance of the family was in Soyland and Sowerby, in the parish of Halifax." 
Early History of the Prestly family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Prestly research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 125 and 1250 are included under the topic Early Prestly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Prestly Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Prestly include Priestley, Priestly, Preistley,Pressley and others.
Early Notables of the Prestly family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Prestly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Prestly migration to the United States +
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Prestly or a variant listed above:
Prestly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- John Prestly, aged 11, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1827 
- Nathan Woods Prestly, aged 34, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1827 
Related Stories +
The Prestly 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: Respice finem
Motto Translation: Regard the end.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ 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)