This famous surname is recorded throughout the British Isles. It is arguably English, Welsh, Irish and Scottish, but is ultimately of Norman-Flemish pre 10th century origins. It is locational from a now "lost" medieval village called Brontegeest, in the province of Flanders, near to the city of Ghent, and was taken by early Flemish settlers to Normandy. It is said to have been brought to England by Prenliregast, a follower of Duke William of Normandy during the famous Conquest of 1066. His son Philip, was given lands near Haverfordwest, in the "English" county of Pembrokeshire, Wales, and called Prendergast Castle. Prenegast in the county of Berwickshire, Scotland, also apparently takes its name from this family. The first recorded namebearer (see below), was a member of the Welsh branch, and played a prominent part with Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in the invasion of Ireland in May 1169. In that country they obtained extensive grants of land, as well as being awarded a baronetcy, and later a grants as the Viscounts Gort of Castle Gort in Galway. Another branch acquired New Castle near Clonmel, in County Tipperary, and this was also a family seat for several centuries. In the modern idiom the surname has at least ten spellings including Pendergast, Prendergrast, Prendergrass, and Prendeguest. A distinguished namebearer was John Patrick Prendergast (1808 - 1893), the author of book called "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. This was dated 1169, in the records of Pembrokeshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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