This very unusual name would seem to be locational or habitational, and to derive from the Old French 'Prele' meaning a damp place where ferns and bracken grew. The name is well recorded heraldically for French and Flauders as Au Prel, for the Netherlands as de Prele and Prussia as de Prel. There is no particular significance about the use of the French 'de', except that every nation in Europe used it at one time or another. It was only replaced in Germany by 'Von', which means exactly the same (from) in the eighteenth Century. The earliest recording in England would seen to be without the prefixes, but the meaning is the same, and the dating would suggest a possible Huguenot origin. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jane Prelle, which was dated July 29th 1666, married at St. Pancras Old Church, London, during the reign of King Charles 11, 'The Merry Monarch', 1660 - 1685. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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