Recorded in the registers of Great Britain and Ireland in the spellings of Praill and Pryell, Prall and Prahl, as well as Prawle and Pryale, there seems little doubt that we have at least two possible origins for the name. We believe that the first two spellings which are seemingly first recorded in Ireland, have the French-Breton source of 'Priel', a word used in pre 12th century times to describe a 'terrain argileux' or 'clay ground', and therefore somebody who lived or farmed such an area. This origin suggests that the name may have been a Huguenot entry into the British Isles, and if so probably after 1580. According to MacLysagt, the surname as 'Priall' is recorded in the Hearth Tax Rolls for the county of Tipperary in 1660. The second origin is from the German and possibly Anglo-Saxon pre 8th century 'prahl', a nickname for a robust character. The first recording would seem to be in Germany in the 14th century, and then as a diminutive (Son of Pral), see below. The recordings in the British registers include such examples as Joane Prell, who married Harry Hill at St Mary Magdalene, London, on August 19th 1548 in the reign of Edward V1, the 'boy king', and John Prile, who married Mary Smith at St James, Dukes Street, on June 3rd 1666, just in time for the Great Fire of London in September of that year. Paul Priaul was christened at St Andrews, Holborn, on May 2nd 1701, and Hannah Praill married George Murphy at St Bartholomew Exchange, London, on June 12th 1825. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Batholomew Pralevot, which was dated 1324, the charters of the city of Lubeck, Germany, during the reign of Emperor Louis 1V of the German Empire, 1314 - 1347. 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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