Recorded in a wide range of spellings including Presha, Preshaw, Presshaugh, Preshous, Presho and Prasha, this is a surname often associated with Ireland, but one that is of medieval English origins. It is locational and probably comes from the now diminished village of Preshaw (House), near Waltham, in the county of Hampshire. Preshaw (House) means 'The house by the priests wood', and is believed to have been cleared of inhabitants during the 17th century. This was in the "Enclosure period" of English social history, when the common lands used by the tenants for grazing their cattle, were legally if not morally seized by the landowners, and turned over to sheep farming.The tenants then had to seek new homes and employment elsewhere. Many were promised lands in Ireland, which had themselves had been seized from Roman Catholics. Holders of the surname in Ireland generally date from that period around 1640 - 1700. Early examples of the church recordings include Mary Preshous who married George Golightly at St Nicholas parish church, Newcastle on Tyne, on December 4th 1687, and James Prashaw of Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland, on November 22nd 1693, with Ann Presho who married Hugh Craford, being recorded at the same place on January 16th 1764.
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