This interesting surname is of locational origin from a lost place called Brontegeest (Prentagast), in Flanders near Ghent, and was brought by Flemish settlers to Normandy. The name is said to have been brought to England by one Prenliregast, a follower of William the Conqueror. His son, Philip, was given lands near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, renamed as Prendergast Castle. Prenegast in Berwickshire also apparently takes its name from this family. The first recorded namebearer (see below), a member of the Welsh branch, played a prominent part with Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in the invasion of Ireland in May 1169, where they obtained extensive grants of land in the south and west of the country. His younger son, William, acquired New Castle near Clonmel in Co. Tipperary, which was the family seat for several centuries. In the modern idiom the surname has ten variant spellings including, Pendergast, P(r)end(er)grast, Prendergrass, and Prendeguest. A distinguished namebearer was John Patrick Prendergast (1808 - 1893), author of "The Cromwellian settlement of Ireland", and other historical works. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Maurice de Prendergast, which was dated 1169, in records of Pembrokeshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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