Pryor History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Pryor is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 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 Pryor family

The surname Pryor 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 Pryor family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pryor 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 Pryor History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pryor Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Prior, Pryor and others.

Early Notables of the Pryor family (pre 1700)

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

Pryor Ranking

In the United States, the name Pryor is the 1,087th most popular surname with an estimated 27,357 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Pryor family to Ireland

Some of the Pryor 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 Pryor migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Pryor or a variant listed above:

Pryor Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Pryor, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [7]
  • Mary Pryor, who arrived in Virginia in 1664 [7]
  • Joane Pryor, who arrived in Maryland in 1665 [7]
Pryor Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Pryor, aged 45, who landed in Maryland in 1812 [7]
  • Joseph Pryor, who landed in America in 1831 [7]
  • Mr. Thomas Pryor, (b. 1874), aged 23, Cornish miner, from Helston, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Campania" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 10th July 1897 en route to Forbestown, California, USA [8]
Pryor Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Miss Bessie Pryor, (b. 1876), aged 28, English settler travelling aboard the ship "Umbria" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 24th September 1904 en route to Calumet, Michigan, USA [8]
  • Mrs. Mabel Pryor, (b. 1884), aged 21, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to Ishpeming, Michigan, USA [8]
  • Mr. Richard Henry Pryor, (b. 1883), aged 22, Cornish miner, from Camborne, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 25th February 1905 en route to Ishpeming, Michigan, USA [8]
  • Mr. Richard John Pryor, (b. 1904), aged 8 months, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to Ishpeming, Michigan, USA [8]
  • Mr. William James Pryor, (b. 1885), aged 20, Cornish miner, from Camborne, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 25th February 1905 en route to Ishpeming, Michigan, USA [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Pryor migration to Australia +

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

Pryor Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Isaac Pryor, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • John Pryor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Cressy" in 1847 [10]
  • Joseph Pryor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Eliza" in 1849 [11]
  • Thomas Pryor, aged 43, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "William Money" [12]
  • Joseph Pryor, aged 38, a blacksmith, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Eliza" [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Pryor 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:

Pryor Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Eliza Pryor, (b. 1842), aged 16, British domestic servant travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Mystery" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 29th March 1859 [13]
  • Miss Elizabeth Pryor, (b. 1855), aged 7, Cornish settler departing on 21st October 1862 aboard the ship "Chariot of Fame" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 29th January 1863 [14]
  • Mrs. Harriet Pryor, (b. 1837), aged 25, Cornish settler departing on 21st October 1862 aboard the ship "Chariot of Fame" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 29th January 1863 [14]
  • Miss Harriet Pryor, (b. 1859), aged 3, Cornish settler departing on 21st October 1862 aboard the ship "Chariot of Fame" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 29th January 1863 [14]
  • Mr. Martin Pryor, (b. 1862), aged 4 months, Cornish settler departing on 21st October 1862 aboard the ship "Chariot of Fame" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 29th January 1863 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Pryor (post 1700) +

  • Snooky Pryor (1921-2005), American blues musician
  • Frederic LeRoy Pryor (1933-2019), American economist
  • Aaron Pryor (1955-2016), American boxer, World Junior Welterweight Champion from 1980 to 1985, inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996
  • Elizabeth Brown Pryor (1950-2015), American diplomat and historian, awarded the Lincoln Prize for Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee through his Private Letters in 2008
  • William Holcombe "Bill" Pryor Jr. (b. 1962), American federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Attorney General of the State of Alabama (1997 to 2004)
  • Rain Pryor (b. 1969), American actress and comedian, daughter of Richard Pryor
  • Nicholas Pryor (b. 1935), born Nicholas David Probst, is an American film and television actor
  • Roger Pryor (1828-1919), American newspaper editor and politician, New York state judge
  • Mark Pryor (b. 1963), American politician, U.S. Senator from Arkansas (2003-)
  • Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (1940-2005), American Emmy and five-time Grammy Award winning stand-up comedian
  • ... (Another 38 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Royal Oak
  • Ronald Albert Pryor (1921-1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [15]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. John Pryor, English 3rd Class passenger from England, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [16]


The Pryor 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


Suggested Readings for the name Pryor +

  • The Pryors, American Pioneers by John H. Cunningham.
  • A Study in Lineage of the Wiley Pryor Family of the Carolinas by Melvin B. Johnson.
  • A Wilson_Pryor Lineage by Gloria Stracke.

  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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CRESSY 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847Cressy.htm
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ELIZA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Eliza.htm
  12. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) "WILLIAM MONEY" 1848-49. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849WmMoney.htm
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  16. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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