Although the Irish had their own system of hereditary surnames
and the Strongbow
settlers brought with them their own Anglo-Norman naming practices, the two traditions generally worked well together. The name Pursells is an occupational
surname, a form of hereditary name that existed in both cultures long before the invaders arrived, but more common to the Anglo-Norman culture. Occupational
surnames were derived from a word describing the actual job done by the original name bearer. Early Strongbownian names of this type often used the prefix le, meaning the, in French, but the use of this prefix did not last in the language of the vernacular. The surname Pursells came from a common occupational name for a swineherd. The surname Pursells is derived from the Norman-French word porcel, which in turn comes from the Latin word porcus, which means pig or piglet. Occupational
names such as Pursells frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic
surnames. The Gaelic form of the surname Pursells is Puirséil.
Early Origins of the Pursells family
The surname Pursells was first found in Surrey
and later in County Tipperary
. As many Norman families, they accompanied Strongbow
in the Anglo- Norman invasion
in 1172. The English branch in Surrey
continued their stronghold in Surrey
for many years. As far as the Irish branch is concerned, it is generally believed that Sir Hugh Purcell, a Strongbow
knight was the progenitor of the family in Ireland
. His grandson, another Sir Hugh married Beatrix, daughter of Theobald FitzWalter, Chief Butler of Ireland
about 1204 and received Loghmoe (Loughmore,) a village in North Tipperary
as a wedding present. CITATION[CLOSE]
MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
A direct line of the family continued until 1722 with the death of Nicholas Purcell, 13th Baron
Early History of the Pursells family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pursells research.Another 185 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1665, 1660, 1665, 1659, 1695, 1664, 1717, 1651 and 1691 are included under the topic Early Pursells History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Pursells Spelling Variations
Medieval scribes and church officials often spelled the name Pursells as it sounded to them. As a result, the name Pursells, over the ages, has attained many spelling variations
including Purcell, Purcel, Pursell, Purcill, Purcells, Percell, Porcell, Percill, Persell, Percel, Pirsell, Porcill, Porsell, Purcelle, Purcele, Persells, Pursells, Purcels, Porcells, Purchell, Purscel, Purtill and many more.
Early Notables of the Pursells family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family up to this time was John Purcell (died 1665), Welsh
politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1660 to 1665; Henry Purcell (1659-1695), generally considered England's greatest composer of the Baroque era; his younger brother Daniel Purcell (1664-1717) was... Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pursells Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Pursells family to the New World and Oceana
In the mid-19th century, Ireland
experienced one of the worst periods in its entire history. During this decade in order to ease the pressure of the soil, which was actually depleted by the effects of the previous years' grain crops, landowners forced tenant
farmers and peasants onto tiny plots of land that barely provided the basic sustenance a family required. Conditions were worsened, though, by the population of the country, which was growing fast to roughly eight million. So when the Great Potato Famine
of the mid-1840s hit, starvation and diseases decimated the population. Thousands of Irish families
left the country for British North America and the United States. The new immigrants were often accommodated either in the opening western frontiers or as cheap unskilled labor in the established centers. In early passenger and immigration lists there are many immigrants bearing the name Pursells: Joseph Purcel, who settled at Barstable in Massachusetts in 1822; Nancy Purcell and her husband and seven children settled in Quebec in 1825; Andrew, Edward, James, John, Martin, Mathew, Michael, Patrick, Peter Purcell all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870..
The Pursells 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: Aut vincam aut periam
Motto Translation: Either conquer or perish.