Prisk History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Prisk name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived near a priest's cottage. The surname is derived from the Old English elements preost, which meant priest, and cot, which meant cottage. This is a topographic surname; it is derived from a local geographical feature, instead of an already existing place-name. It may also denote employment at a priest's cottage. The Prisk name comes from having lived near a priest's cottage; it is derived from the Old English elements "preost," which meant "priest," and "cot," which meant "cottage." As such, this name is classed as a topographic surname; that is, one that is derived from a local geographical feature, rather than from an already existing place-name.

Early Origins of the Prisk family

The surname Prisk was first found in Lancashire at Prescot, a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of West Derby. [1] While there are also parishes in Oxfordshire, and Gloucestershire, it is the Lancashire location that this family hails. "The Prescotts take their name from a Lancashire parish; they are also represented in Cheshire." [2] "The Lancashire town gave rise to a family that still flourishes in its local directories." [3]

While most sources agree on the place of origin of the family and their first stronghold, ironically the first listing of the family used an ancient family spelling in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 as (Heredes) de Prestecote in Oxfordshire. [3] Later, Kirby's Quest listed Adam le Prestecote in Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of Edward III's reign.) [4]

Early History of the Prisk family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Prisk research. Another 60 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1789, 1858, 1726 and 1815 are included under the topic Early Prisk History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Prisk Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Prisk were recorded, including Prescott, Presscot, Presscot, Prescot, Prescop and others.

Early Notables of the Prisk family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Prisk Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Prisk migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Prisk family emigrate to North America:

Prisk Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. J. Prisk, (b. 1810), aged 53, Cornish settler departing from Falmouth aboard the ship "Cornwall" arriving in the United States on 3 June 1841 [5]
  • Mrs. S. Prisk, (b. 1788), aged 51, Cornish settler departing from Falmouth aboard the ship "Cornwall" arriving in the United States on 3 June 1841 [5]
  • Mr. William Prisk, (b. 1790), aged 24, Cornish settler departing from Falmouth aboard the ship "Cornwall" arriving in the United States on 3 June 1841 [5]
  • Miss M. Prisk, (b. 1817), aged 23, Cornish settler departing from Falmouth aboard the ship "Cornwall" arriving in the United States on 3 June 1841 [5]
  • Mr. P. Prisk, (b. 1818), aged 22, Cornish settler departing from Falmouth aboard the ship "Cornwall" arriving in the United States on 3 June 1841 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Prisk Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Miss Louise Prisk, (b. 1883), aged 18, Cornish settler, from Illogan, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Germanic" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 25th October 1901 en route to Benton, Wisconsin, USA [6]
  • Mr. Bertie Prisk, (b. 1884), aged 18, English miner travelling aboard the ship "St Paul" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 12th April 1902 en route to Michigan, USA [6]
  • Mr. William Prisk, (b. 1860), aged 42, American miner returning from Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Oceanic" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 8th October 1902 en route to Michigan, USA [6]
  • Mr. William James Prisk, (b. 1875), aged 28, Cornish miner, from Camborne, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Campania" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 15th August 1903 en route to Atlantic Mine, Michigan, USA [6]
  • Mr. William John Prisk, (b. 1893), aged 11, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 21st August 1904 en route to Galena, Nevada, USA [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Prisk migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Prisk Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Prisk, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1847 [7]
  • Paul Prisk, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Eliza" in 1849 [8]
  • Paul Prisk, aged 37, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Eliza" [8]
  • John Prisk, aged 22, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Ramillies" [9]
  • Mr. John Prisk, (b. 1837), aged 20, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "Zemindar" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 23rd August 1857 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Prisk 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:

Prisk Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Samuel Prisk, (b. 1838), aged 24, Cornish labourer departing on 21st October 1862 aboard the ship "Chariot of Fame" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 29th January 1863 [11]
  • Mrs. Susan Prisk, (b. 1838), aged 24, Cornish settler departing on 21st October 1862 aboard the ship "Chariot of Fame" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 29th January 1863 [11]
  • Miss Susan Prisk, (b. 1862), aged Infant, Cornish settler departing on 21st October 1862 aboard the ship "Chariot of Fame" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 29th January 1863 [11]
  • Samuel Prisk, aged 22, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Schiehallion" in 1872
  • Elizabeth Prisk, aged 2, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Schiehallion" in 1872
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Prisk (post 1700) +

  • William Frederick Prisk Jr. (1870-1962), American newspaper executive, brother of Charles Prisk, their father emigrated from Camborne, Cornwall, England before 1869
  • Charles Henry Prisk (1875-1940), American newspaper executive from Grass Valley, California, editor and owner of the Pasadena Star-News, brother of William F. Prisk
  • Michael Mark Prisk (b. 1962), British Conservative Party politician from Redruth, Cornwall, Minister of State for Housing and Local Government (2012-2013)
  • Brigadier Ralph Carlyle Geoffrey Prisk (b. 1894), Australian Chairman of the War Establishment Investigating Committee, Army Headquarters from 1944 to 1945 [12]


The Prisk 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: Lux mihi Deus
Motto Translation: God is my light.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. 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. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_new_york_1820_1891.pdf
  6. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DAVID MALCOLM 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847DavidMalcolm.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ELIZA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Eliza.htm
  9. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 11 January 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILLIES 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/ramillies1853.shtml.
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1850_59.pdf
  11. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
  12. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, August 30) Ralph Prisk. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Prisk/Ralph_Carlyle_Geoffrey/Australia.html


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