The surname of PIRIE was a baptismal name 'the son of Peter'. 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.The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.It was a common surname in the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff. Many generations of Pirie's have lived at Iriewells in the parish of Udny, and there was an old family of the name Pyrrie in Paisley during the 15th century. Early records of the name mention John Pirie, burgess of Glasgow in 1550. James Pirie appears as witness in Bogmyln in 1663. William Pirie was a member of the Huntly Volunteers in 1798. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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