Prier History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Prier is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest in 1066. It is a name for a monastic official immediately subordinate to an abbot having derived from the Old English word prior, meaning superior, and indicates that the original bearer of the name held this position. [1] [2] [3]

Early Origins of the Prier family

The surname Prier was first found in Suffolk where Roger Priur was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1205. A few years later, Roger le Priur was found in the Feet of Fines for Cheshire in 1237 and Nicholas le Prior was in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1268. [1]

In the plural form, Editha le Priores was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Somerset in 1327; and William atte Priours was in the Subsidy Rolls for Essex in 1327. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include Hugh le Priur, Suffolk; Richard le Prior, Suffolk; and Hugh Priour, Huntingdonshire. [3]

In Somerset, early rolls there provide John Priour, 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [4]

In Scotland, Ricardus Priour was subprior of the Abbey of Dunfermline in 1448. Janet Prior was married in Perth in 1568 and Robert Pryor in Dundee was charged with aiding the English in 1552. [5]

Early History of the Prier family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Prier research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1125, 1664, 1721, 1682, 1751, 1680, 1751 and are included under the topic Early Prier History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Prier Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Prior, Pryor and others.

Early Notables of the Prier family (pre 1700)

Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Prier Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Prier family to Ireland

Some of the Prier family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Prier migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Prier name or one of its variants:

Prier Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jo Prier, aged 15, who landed in New England in 1635 [6]
Prier Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Prier, who arrived in America in 1805 [6]

New Zealand Prier 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:

Prier Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Prier, aged 21, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Susannah Prier, aged 23, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856


The Prier 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: Speriamo
Motto Translation: We hope


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ 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)


Houseofnames.com on Facebook