The surname of PRESSER was an official name 'the priest' a man of the cloth. The name was derived from the Old Latin PRESBYTER (an elder, a counsellor) and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. It may also have been an occupational name for someone in the service of a priest, and occasionally it may have been used to denote someone suspected of being the son of a priest. The male member of a religious order or monastery was an important person in Medieval Europe. It designated the members of the four mendicant orders, which became prominent in the 13th century, the Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites and Augustinians. They lived among their fellow men travelling and preaching throughout the world. The villagers appreciated their courage and service and welcomed them. Some of the members were lay brothers or 'conversi' who lived according to a rule, but were not so strict as the monks or canons. They were illiterate, engaged mainly in manual work, and had their own living quarters. Jews would sometimes convert to Christianity and in 1154 there was a school in Bristol, England for converts. During the 13th century King Henry III founded the House of Converts in Chancery lane, London, as a home for Jews who had abandoned their faith. The name is also spelt PRIEST, PREIST and PRESTE. Early records of the name mention John le Prest, who was documented in County Essex in the year 1185. Baldwin Rodbert Prest was documented in London in 1238. Roger le Prest appears in County Wiltshire in 1273 and Adam Prest et Magota uxor ejus was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Later instances of the name mention a certain Thomas Priest who married Charlotte Yerbury at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1799. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. The name was found early in Scotland, and John Prest of Peebles, a Scottish prisoner of war, was held in the Castle of High Peak in 1306. William Preist was recorded as a shoemaker in Ratanach in 1703, and Andrew Priest from Turriff was killed in the first Great War.
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