Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this is an early medieval English and French surname. Introduced into England after the famous Conquest of 1066, it is a good example of the large group of nickname surnames that were created during the Middle Ages. These nicknames were given for a variety of reasons including personal characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal or bird, habits of dress, and often referring to a person's occupation. The modern surname recorded as Prew, Prow or Prue derives from the Old French word "prou" meaning meaning valiant or doughty, and given as a nickname to someone considered to be a redoubtable soldier or warrior. The surname development includes: Robert Prowe of Cambridgeshire in 1276, Ellis Prew also of Cambridgeshire in 1280, and John le Proo in the Subsidy Tax rolls of the county of Sussex in 1332. Amongst the recordings of the surname in the church registers of the city of London is the marriage of William Prew and Emmat Morton at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, on February 6th 1633. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Prue. This was dated 1270, in the charter and court rolls of the county of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111rd 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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