This distinguished surname with no less than six Coats of Arms is of English locational origin from Prestwich in Lancashire, recorded as "Prestwich" in the 1194 Pipe Rolls of that county, or from Prestwick in Northumberland, recorded as "Prestwic" in the 1242 Book of Fees. The placenames derive from the Olde English pre 7th Century "preost" meaning priest plus "wic" a settlement or village; hence "village with a priest". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below). In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings including Prestwick, Prestage, Prestedge, Prestidge, Prestige, etc. An interesting namebearer, Sir John Prestwich (deceased 1795), an antiquary, was chiefly known by his heraldic work, "Prestwich's Respublica" (1787). A Coat of Arms granted to the Prestwick family, Lancaster, depicts a silver mermaid with a gold comb and glass on a red shield. On the Crest is a porcupine proper. The motto "In te, Domine, speravi" translates as "In Thee, O Lord, have I put my trust". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Prestwyc which was dated 1230, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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