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Prenty as Prentice

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The "Prenty" surname as "Prentice"
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Spring 2010 and Revised 5 Feb 2010

The "Prenty" Surname

Recorded in several forms, this is a surname of French origins.

It derives from the word "aprentis" and describes one who served an apprenticeship to a member of a Guild of a skilled profession, in the days before the term was down graded to its modern interpretations.

The ancient registers known as the Calendar of Letter Books for the City of London for the year 1350, records one John King, a mercer apprentice, where King is the surname, mercer the occupation, and Prentiz the nickname by which he was known. The origination is from the French verb "aprendre", meaning to learn. The following lines appear in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", of the late 14th Century:

    "A Prentys Whilom dwelt in our citee, And of a craft of vitaillers was he".

The modern surname is recorded as Prentice, Prentis, Prentiss, Prenty (English) and Prentier in France.

A coat of arms associated with the name has the blazon of "per gyronny of eight azure and gold, on a silver chief, a fleur-de-lis between two crescents". The crest is an eagle displayed holding in the dexter claw a dagger.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Prentys. This was dated 1292, in the "Pipe Rolls of London", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling. (Ref: Surnamedb.com )

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