This interesting name is one of the diminutive forms of the surname 'Prowse', which is of Olde French origin and was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066 as 'Proz' and 'Proux' or 'Preux'. The surname derives from a nickname for a redoubtable warrior, from the Olde French 'Prou, Preu', valiant, doughty, brave, in Middle English 'Prou(s)' and 'Prew'. The variant modern surnames are composed of the elements 'Prew', brave, with the diminutive suffix 'ett', from a short form of the French 'Petit', and can be found as 'Prewett', 'Prewitt', 'Pruett' and 'Pruitt'. The marriage between Thomas Prewett and Agnes Wintris was recorded on the 24th September 1609 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, and Hayward Prewett was christened on the 9th February 1649 at St. Katherine's by the Tower, in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Matthew Pruet, which was dated 1202, The Somerset Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King John, Lackland, 1199 - 1216. 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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