Last name: Purdy

Recorded in several spelling forms including Pirdy, Pirdue, Pardoe, Purdy, Purdey, and Perdue, this surname is medieval English but of Norman-French origins. It is an excellent example of the medieval liking for creating a surname from a nickname. In this instance the development is from a favourite oath, in pre 10th century Old French "Par Dieu", meaning "by God", but anglicized to a 'sounds like' spelling. There are a number of similar surnames in the modern idiom, "Purefoy" (Par ma foi), meaning "God safe". The form of the oath "Pardee" was popular in the Middle Ages, and appears in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as "I have a wyt, pardee, as wel as thow". The surname development over the centuries has included Rober Pardey, of the county of Sussex in 1296, Herny Pardeu of Warwickshire in 1332, and Walter Perdu of Staffordshire in 1370. Later recordings include James Pardoe who married Sarah Birt at St. Georges chapel, Hanover Square, London, in 1808. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Richard Parde. This was dated 1228, in the tax rolls known as the "Feet of Fines" for Suffolk. during the reign of King Henry III, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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