This famous surname recorded in the spellings of Prin, Prine, Pring, Prinn, Prinne, Preon, Pryn, Prynne, and the diminutives Prinett, Prinnett, Print and Pront, is derived directly from a pre medieval baptismal name of endearment. The origin is from 'prin', a word which was introduced into England by the Normans after the 1066 invasion. However spelt it is a 'descendant' of the Latin 'primus' meaning 'first' , and as such was given as a baptismal name to the first born male child of a family. Some learned academics of the 20th century have suggested that the name may be a nickname for one with 'lordly airs', but this seems unlikely.The similarity with the surnames 'Prince' (originally the French 'prins'), and 'Prime', which is directly from 'primus' cannot be avoided. We are satisfied that 'first born' is the most logical explanation. There are many early examples of the surname recordings, and these include: Matilda Pryn in the 1275 Subsidy Rolls of Worcester, Nicholas Prinne of Sussex in 1327, Robert Le Prins, of the same county also in 1327, Adam Prymme of Stafford in 1286, John Prynne of Oxford University in the year 1506, and Thomas Pring of Somerset in 1618. Other recordings include Margaret Prinntt, who married Anthony Woodden at St. James Clerkenwell, on May 22nd 1581, Anne Print who married Robert Copeman at the church of St Gregory's by St Paul's, on July 12th 1636, Penellope Prine, christened at St Sepulchre Church, London, on January 12th 1682, and Richard Preon, who married Rebecca Perry at Christ Church, Spitalfields, London, on December 15th 1788. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of William Prin. This was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Berkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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