This interesting surname, with variant spellings Prescott, Prescot, Preskett and Priscott, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from any of the various places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "preost", priest or parson, plus "cot", a cottage or dwelling. These places include: Prescott in Gloucestershire, recorded as "Prestecote" in the 1287 Pipe Rolls of that county; Prescott, north west of Culmstock, Devonshire; Prescott near Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire; Prescote in Oxfordshire; and Prescot in south west Lancashire, recorded as "Prestecota" in the 1178 Pipe Rolls of Lancashire. The surname was first recorded in the latter part of the 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Richard de Prestecote (Lancashire, 1192); Heredes de Prestecote (Oxfordshire, 1273); and Robert Prescott, of Standish, "yeoman", who was recorded in the Wills Records at Chester, dated 1596. A distinguished namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was Sir Henry Prescott (1783 - 1874), who was promoted to post rank in the navy for gallantry in 1810; he became admiral in 1860, and G.C.B. in 1869. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name from Hertfordshire is on a black shield a silver chevron between three white owls . The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Prestcota, which was dated 1175, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The 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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