- Recorded in many spellings forms including: Pearce, Pears, Pearse, Piers, Peers, and Peres, this is regarded as a European surname as it is found in almost every country, and largely a 12th century Crusader introduction, but ultimately, of ancient biblical origins. The modern surname is a variant of the popular personal name Peter, which in medieval England was more usually found in the French form of Piers. Whatever the spelling the origination is from the Ancient Greek "Petros", meaning rock, and was the name given by Jesus to Simon, to be steadfastness in faith, and the rock on which the Christian church was to be created. With a build up like that, it was hardly surprising that St. Peter was the favourite saint of the medieval church, and his name hugely popular throughout Christendom. It is said that the name as "Piers" was brought to Britain by the Normans at the time of the Conquest of England in 1066. However we can find no definate proof of this claim, and our research suggests that it was a century later at least. Even then it was at first a personal name, but within a short time it had become one of the first surnames. Early recordings taken from authentic surviving rolls and charters of medieval England include: Robert Peres of Somerset in the register known as 'Kiby's Quest' in 1273, and Adam Pierce of Sussex in the Subsidy Rolls of 1327. Later examples include: Captain William Pearce (or Peerce) who held 1700 acres of tree plantations in 'James Cittie' the original centre of the new colony of 'Virginea'. This was in the year 1626, whilst Danyell Pierce is recorded as having left Ipswich in England, on the ship "Elizabeth", bound for New England, in 1634. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Gilbert Perse, which was dated 1198. This was in the pipe rolls of the city of London, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.