Pursley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Pursley is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Pursley family once lived in Purslow, in Shropshire. The place-name is derived from the Old English personal name Pussa and the Old English word hlaw. A hlaw is a burial mound; in Modern English the word for a burial mound is tumulus, which is derived from Latin. The place-name as a whole means "burial mound of a man named Pussa."

Early Origins of the Pursley family

The surname Pursley was first found in Shropshire at Purslow, a hamlet that dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Possalau. The place name is derived from the Old English words personal name + hlaw, and literally means "tumulus (mound of earth and stones) of a man called Pussa." [1] Of interest is a certain Robert Parslow. " It is traditionally said that a military chest of money was left at the house of Robert Parslow, in the town [of Watlington in Oxfordshire], and never afterwards claimed, in consequence of which he bequeathed a liberal donation to the poor of the parish." [2]

Early History of the Pursley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pursley research. Another 61 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1533, 1563, 1558, 1559, 1500 and 1579 are included under the topic Early Pursley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pursley Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Pursley family name include Purslow, Purseglove, Purselove, Pursley, Pursly and others.

Early Notables of the Pursley family (pre 1700)

Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pursley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pursley Ranking

In the United States, the name Pursley is the 7,805th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]


United States Pursley migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Pursley surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Pursley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • David, George, Robert, and William Pursley all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870

West Indies Pursley migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [4]
Pursley Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • James Pursley, who settled in Barbados in 1679

Contemporary Notables of the name Pursley (post 1700) +

  • Louis A. Pursley, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1960
  • Frank E. Pursley, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Oregon, 1944
  • David R. Pursley, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1944 (alternate), 1948
  • Alexander N. Pursley (b. 1959), American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Indiana, 1940
  • Leo Aloysius Pursley (1902-1998), American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend (1956-1976)
  • Greg Pursley (b. 1968), American race car driver who won the NASCAR Weekly Series national championship in 2004
  • Tricia Pursley (b. 1952), American actress, best known for her role as Devon Shepherd McFadden on the soap opera All My Children


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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