One of the unusual features of this surname is that whilst it is almost certainly topographical, it may not mean one who lived by a peartree. The origin is a combination of Olde English, and Norman-French, and the derivation is from 'Pere tre(ow)', as per the recordings below. The Olde English for pear is 'pyrige' and for tree - 'treow', whilst 'treow' is not far from 'tre', it is rather stretching logic to suggest that 'Pere' is a development from 'pyrige'. In fact in pre 1066 Norman French 'Pere' was the word for noble or loyal, and this developed in Medieval times both into a surname (Pear, Pears, Pere, etc) and into the descriptive 'Peer', to literally mean one of noble status. It was also in the pre Invasion period used as a baptismal name, developing much later into the surname, as in the recording of Richard Le Pere in Huntingdon in the 1279 Hundred Rolls. This development suggests that some at least of the 'Peartree' nameholders may derive from residence at the 'Pere tree' i.e. the tree of Pere. A further possibility is that 'Peretre' may refer to literally 'The noble tree', particularly as 'great oaks' were often singled out to be the local meeting places for the 'Court leets'. This is the explanation for the villages called Pear Tree in Derbyshire and Peartree in Dumfries, far to far North to actually grow peartrees. Early examples of the surname recordings include Emma atte Peretre in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Huntingdon, and Robert del Pertre in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. Later recordings include Mary Peartree of Aston, Cheshire, in 1671, and Anna Peartree who married John Ward at St Georges Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1738. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Peretre, which was dated 1230, the pipe rolls of the county of Northampton, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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