This unusual and interesting name is an example of the medieval practice of creating a name from an official title, i.e. "office of". In this case the name indicates the office of "the primer", which would be either the priest himself or a curate whose duty it was to conduct "prime", the first service of the Canonical day at 6.00 am. or sunrise. There are similar instances of medieval surnames from Canonical offices, such as "Sermoner, Preacher and Chanter". Although priests were forbidden to marry and therefore could not pass on a surname, the lower orders of the clergy were allowed to marry and found families as can be seen from the modern surname "Priest". Richard Primmer and Ann Edwards were married at St. Georges, Hanover Square, London in 1795. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Petrus le Primur, which was dated 1273, Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Edward I, 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017