This interesting surname of English origin is a topographical name for someone who lived by the priest's enclosure, deriving from the old English pre 7th Century "preost" meaning "priest", "parson" plus "leah" "enclosure". The surname dates back to the late 14th Century (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Preaysey, Pressy, Pressie, Preessy, Prissy, Pressee, etc.. One Susan Pressey was christened on June 14th 1561 at St. Peter, Cornhill, London and Henry Pressy was christened on November 26th 1562 at St. Peter Cornhill, London. One Thomas Pressey, was christened on April 9th 1564 at St. Peter Cornhill, London. Henry Pressey, an emigrant to the New World, sailed from Southampton to the Barbados, aboard the "Virgin" on March 30th 1639. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Presthey, which was dated 1377, "The Assize Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Richard 11, "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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