Purse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Purse was spawned by the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture that ruled a majority of Britain. It comes from the baptismal name for the son of Peter. In the religious naming tradition surnames were bestowed in honor of religious figures or church officials. In Europe, the Christian Church was one of the most powerful influences on the formation of given names. Personal names derived from the names of saints, apostles, biblical figures, and missionaries are widespread in most European countries. In the Middle Ages, they became increasingly popular because people believed that the souls of the deceased continued to be involved in this world. They named their children after saints in the hope that the child would be blessed or protected by the saint.

Early Origins of the Purse family

The surname Purse was first found in Somerset where one of the first records of the family was listed with an early spelling of the name: Richard Perys, 1 Edward III (during the first year's reign of King Edward III.) The same rolls included Robert Peres; Ralph Peres; and Adam Peres. [1]

Some of the family were also found in Cornwall. "The barton house of Davidstowe, [in the parish of Davistow, Cornwall] which is now inhabited by labourers, and Trehane, now occupied by a farmer, were originally seats of the Pearse family, from whom, together with their estates, they passed in marriage to John Nicholls, Esq. Since that time Davidstowe has again returned to the Pearse family; and, together with the great tithes, is now the property of William Pearse, Esq.. whose residence is at Holwell." [2]

Early History of the Purse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Purse research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1520, 1548, 1615, 1667, 1661, 1667, 1622, 1691, 1674, 1726, 1630, 1694, 1697, 1714, 1719, 1510, 1603, 1629, 1691, 1772, 1845, 1625, 1699, 1612, 1645, 1690 and are included under the topic Early Purse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Purse Spelling Variations

Purse has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Purse have been found, including Pearce, Pierce, Pierse, Pearse, Pears, Peerce, Peers, Peirse and many more.

Early Notables of the Purse family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Peeris ( fl. 1520), English chronicler, clerk in holy orders and secretary to Henry Algernon Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland. Stephen Perse (1548-1615), was founder of the Perse Grammar School at Cambridge and Fellow of Cambridge College. Sir Edmund Peirce or Pierse (died 1667), of Greenwich, Kent and Holborn, Middlesex, was an English politician, Member of Parliament for Maidstone 1661 to 1667...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Purse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Purse family to Ireland

Some of the Purse family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 201 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Purse migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Purses to arrive on North American shores:

Purse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Anthony Purse, who arrived in Maryland in 1666 [3]
Purse Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Purse, who arrived in Maryland in 1809 [3]
  • Jonathan Purse, who landed in New York, NY in 1812 [3]

New Zealand Purse 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:

Purse Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Rosina Purse, (b. 1852), aged 23, English settler from Hampshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Waimate" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1875 [4]
  • Mr. Stephen Purse, (b. 1873), aged 2, English settler from Hampshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Waimate" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1875 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Purse (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Purse, American politician, Mayor of Savannah, Georgia, 1861-62
  • James A. Purse Jr., American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1940, 1944

RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Reginald Purse, American 2nd Class passenger from Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [5]
  • Mrs. Gertude Purse, American 2nd Class passenger from Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [5]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  5. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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