This most interesting and unusual surname may be of either Old French or Anglo-Saxon origin; firstly, it may have been a nickname for a person who dressed well, or for someone who was not particularly strong, from the Old French word "prim(e)", fine, delicate. The surname may also derive from an Anglo-Saxon source, from an Olde English pre 7th Century personal name, from the Olde English "prim", early morning, given to one born at that time or a nickname for an early riser. There are seven variations of the name in the modern idiom, Prime, Prinn, Pring, Prinne and Prynn(e). The name first appears in records in the late 13th Century (see below), and Ralph Prime is recorded in 1296 in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. One Adam Prymme is mentioned in 1286, in the Staffordshire Forest Pleas. The surname was also re-introduced into England by French Huguenot refugees during the 16th and 17th Centuries; Jan, son of Jehan Prime, a French Huguenot, was christened at the Walloon Church in Canterbury, on August 25th 1605. Richard Prime was christened on June 1st 1634 at Strood near Rochester, in Kent. A Coat of Arms was granted to a family of the name at Walberton House in Sussex and depicts a human leg, in pale black, on a silver shield, with the Motto "Nil invita Minerva", translating as "Nothing contrary to one's genius". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Prime, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Berkshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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