This most interesting surname has two possible interpretations, and is found early in England and Scotland. Firstly, it may be of early medieval origin, and derived from a nickname from the Middle English "pryde, pride" (from the Olde English "pryde", proud) which probably denoted someone who took particular pride in their work or one who was very proud. It may also have referred to someone who played the part of a particularly arrogant man in a pageant of the Seven Deadly Sins. Secondly, the surname may be of Old Welsh origin, from the Welsh word "prid", meaning precious, dear, again used as a nickname. The surname first appears in the early 13th Century (see below), while Robert Pride is mentioned in the Assize Court Rolls of Shropshire in 1221. In Scotland, John "dictus" Pride, burgess of Renfrew, appears several times as a charter witness between 1272 and 1274 in the Register of the Monastery of Passelet. Alexander Pryd was a member of the Assize at Cupar in 1521, while Robert Pryde was bailie of Cupar in 1567. A Coat of Arms, depicting three silver preeds or small lampreys haurient in fess, on a black field, was granted to a Pryde family of Shrewsbury in Shropshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Pride, which was dated 1208, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King John, known as "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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