- This rare surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a variant of the name Perry which is in the majority of cases a topographical surname for someone who lived near a pear tree. The name derives from the Middle English "perie, perrie", a development of the Olde English pre 7th century "pirige, pyrige", pear-tree. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Some bearers of the modern surname may derive their name from a Welsh patronymic form of the medieval given name "Herry", a form of Henry, with the fused Welsh patronymic prefix "ap". The development of the surname includes Richard Pirie (1198, Kent), Gilbert atte Pyrie (1263, Surrey), and Richard atte Perye (1392, Sussex), and the modern forms include Perry, Perrie, Pi(r)rie, and Pu(r)y. One Elizabeth Peery, the infant daughter of Steven and Alice Peery, was christened on July 25th 1675, at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London. Other recordings of the name include William Pirrye of Carisbrooke, Hampshire who married Susan Brone on January 7th 1596, Benjamin Pirrey of London at St. Benets Church on May 24th 1800, and Helen Pirrie, daughter of William Pirrie, at the church of St. John the Evangelist, Lambeth, on April 6th 1834. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Peri, which was dated 1176, in the "Staffordshire Pipe Rolls", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.