Purkis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Purkis is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. Purkis is a name for a messenger or herald. Purkis is a classic example of an English polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.

Early Origins of the Purkis family

The surname Purkis was first found in Kent where they held a family seat from very early times, descended from a Norman noble "Perahgoz" meaning "bear-Goth"and were granted lands in Kent by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Purkis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Purkis research. Another 233 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1100, 1190, 1497, 1498, 1575, 1626 and 1658 are included under the topic Early Purkis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Purkis Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Purchase, Purchas, Purchass, Purches, Purchis, Purkiss, Purkess, Purkis, Purkeys, Purkys, Purkes and many more.

Early Notables of the Purkis family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir William Purchas, Lord Mayor of London (1497 to 1498); and Samuel Purchas (1575?-1626), was an English cleric and travel writer. His "Purchas his Pilgrimage" was...
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Purkis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Purkis migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Purkis or a variant listed above:

Purkis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Geo Purkis, who arrived in New England in 1682 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Purkis (post 1700) +

  • Sidney Purkis, English competitor in the men's 880 yards at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games
  • James Purkis, Australian Chairman of the Perth Town Trust, Western Australia (1846-1848)


The Purkis 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: Semper paratus
Motto Translation: Always prepared.


  1. ^ 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)


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