Recorded in several forms including Presland, Pressland, Prestland, and Priestland, this is an English surname. It is locational from either a place called Priestland Copse near Bampton in the county of Devonshire, or from Priestlands near Horley in the county of Surrey, or possibly from Pressland, near Hatherleigh, also in Devonshire. Developed from the pre 7th century English word 'preost' meaning apriest or holy man, this surname bears great similarity to the surnames Priestley, Priestlay and Priestly. These translate as "The priests ley (or farm"), whilst this translation is the priests land. It is recorded that the place in Surrey originally belonged to the priory of Reigate, and the two Devonshire hamlets probably had a similar association with a monastery or some other religious settlement. These places may have been 'suppressed' in 1535 during the Reformation of the church, as carried out by King Henry V111th (1510 - 1547). Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original villages to more somewhere else. In so doing they took, or more likely were given, as their surname, the name of their former homestead, this being the easiest way to identify a stranger. Such names are always liable to transposition in their spelling. The earliest known recordings is probably that of Roger de Presland in the tax rolls know as the Feet of Fines for the county of Essex in the year 1305. This was during the reign of king Edward 1st of England, (1272 - 1307).
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