This unusual and interesting name is of early medieval origin and is found particularly in the northern counties of England and in Scotland. It is a metonymic occupational name for the appointed official who was responsible for obtaining the supplies needed for a monastery or manor house, a 'purveyor'. The derivation is from the Middle English word 'purveys' meaning 'provisions', 'supplies', from the verb 'purvey(en)' in Olde French 'porveoir', to provide, supply. The ultimate derivation is from the Latin 'providence', to foresee, anticipate. The modern surname has a number of variant forms, Purvis, Purves, Purvess and Purvey. Ann Purvis and Cornelius Butler were married on the 20th July 1687 at St. Katherine's by the Tower, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Purveys, which was dated circa 1214, The Book of St. Mary's, Melrose, during the reign of King William, The Lion of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. 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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