- This is a very interesting English surname. According to the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley writing in the year 1880, the origin is Portugese, or perhaps more accurately the surname originally described a person, probably a merchant, from Portugal. Recorded in the spellings of Portingale, Portigall, Portugal, Pothergill, Potteril, Puttergill, Putterill, and others, it is said to originate from the trading base of Oporto. The state of Portugal itself derives its name from the city of Oporto. This is from the original Latin word "portus", meaning a harbour. Portugal has traditionally been England's oldest trading partner, and it is not perhaps surprising that at various times merchants from both countries emigrated to the other. The medieval English spelling for Portugal was Portingale, and in its various developed spellings, this remains with us today. Early examples of recordings taken from the surviving church registers include John Portingale of Youghall in Ireland in 1569, and Jone Portigall of Prestbury in Cheshire in 1574. Other recordings are those of Katherine Putteryll christened at St Giles Cripplegate, in 1599, and John Pottergill who married Mary James at St Olaves, Hart Street, in 1640, both in the city of London, whilst in 1725 Hannah Portingale married John Ferre at St. Alphege, in Canterbury, Kent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walterus filius Portingalliae. This was dated 1201, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Suffolk, during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.