This ancient surname has two possible origins, from totally different and (literally) opposing sources. Those 'Price' nameholders with a Welsh ancestry derive from a 14th century developed form of 'ap Rhys' with the prefix 'ap' meaning 'son of', plus the given name 'Rhys', meaning 'fiery warrior'. Perhaps not surprisingly 'Price' is one of Wales most popular surnames, and no doubt this popularity is, or was, also connected with the fact that 'Rhys' was the given name of the last ruler of a fully independent kingdom of Wales, Rhys ap Tewder. He was killed in 1093 whilst unsuccessfully opposing the advancing Norman army. William, The Conqueror. The second origin for Price is job descriptive, and directly connected with the 1066 Norman French invasion. The derivation is from the Old French "pris", meaning literally 'price', and as such the word describes an early Trading Standards Officer, one who set the local prices for goods. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from ancient rolls include Richard Prys, in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1320, and Jorwerth ap Reys, in the London Pleas Records of 1393. He was a Welshman, who was appealing to the land tribunal over a disputed estate. Amongst the very earliest of the settlers to the Colonies of New England, was Mathew Price. He was aged 20 when he embarked from England bound for 'Virginia', aboard the ship 'George of London', on August 21st 1635. The coat of arms most associated with the surname has the very distinctive blazon of a red field, charged with a silver lion rampant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Price, which was dated 1297, in the 'Minister's Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall', during the reign of King Edward 1, known as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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