This surname PIERCE was derived from the Old French PIERRE. A baptismal name 'the son of Peter'. The name was brought to England from France in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Peris le Ceynturer of London in 1292. Richard Peris of the County of Surrey was documented in the year of 1275. Magota Peres (wyfe) of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Pearce of London was registered at Oxford University in 1601. George Peares and Anna Padgett were married at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in the year 1692. Thomas Pearce and Elizabeth Jones were married at the same church in the year 1738. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. The name was extremely popular throughout Christian Europe in the Middle Ages, as it had been bestowed by Christ as a byname on the apostle Simon bar Jonah, the brother of Andrew. The name was chosen for its symbolic significance, is a translation of the Aramaic 'kefa' meaning a rock. St. Peter is regarded as the foundling father of the Christian church, and in Christian Germany in the 14th century was the most frequent given name. In England the vernacular form of Piers was usual at the time when surnames were being assumed. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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