The surname of PRITCHARD was a baptismal name 'the son of Richard'. This was originally a German personal name composed of the elements 'ric' (power) and 'hard' (meaning hardy, brave and strong). The name was popularized in England by the Normans, when it arrived in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Family names are a fashion we have inherited from the times of the Crusades in Europe, when knights identified one another by adding their place of birth to their first or Christian names. With so many knights, this was a very practical step. In the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries the nobles and upper classes, particularly those descended from the knights of the Crusades, recognised the prestige an extra name afforded them, and added the surname to the simple name given to them at birth. Early records of the name mention William Prichard who was documented in the year 1421 Wales and David Aprycharde, registered at Oxford University in 1521.
James Cowles Pritchard (1786-1848) was the English physician and ethnologist, born in Herefordshire, the son of a Quaker merchant. He studied medicine and from 1810 practised in Bristol. He wrote many books including 'The Natural History of Man' (1843). Charles Pritchard (1808-93) was the English astronomer and clergyman. From 1870 he was Savilian professor at Oxford, where he established an observatory. The name is also spelt PRICHARD and PRITCHER. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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