This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin and is created from the popular and old-established personal name "Peter", which in medieval England was more usually found as "Piers". Peter derives from the Greek "petros" rock and was the name given by Jesus to Simon to be symbolic of steadfastness in faith. St. Peter was the favourite saint of the medieval church and his name was popular throughout Christendom uring the Middle Ages. The version "Piers" is the French one, originally brought over by the Normans at the time of the Conquest in 1066. The surname is first recorded in the late 12th century (see below). Geoffrey Peres is noted in the Records of Hornchurch Priory (1237) and Richard Peris is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire (1275). The surname has many variant spellings ranging from Pierce, Piers, Pierse and Pearce to Perris and Peer. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of Wilyam, son of John and Elizabeth Pears, on March 18th 1657, at Sunbury on Thames; the marriage of Richard Pears and Trephena Wiseman on August 6th 1684 at St. James's Dukes Place; and the marriage of Thomas Pears and Elizabeth Barnes on April 30th 1696, at the same place. One, John Pears is listed as holding 910 acres of land in the Parish of Christ Church, Barbados on December 22nd 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Perse, which was dated 1198, in the "Pipe Rolls of London", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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