Michael Linton's Bayeux Tapestry: 1066 - A Medieval Mosaic and Puzzles
BATTLE ABBEY ROLL.
ACCOUNT OF THE NORMAN LINEAGES.
IN THREE VOLUMES.—VOL. III
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton, 2007
generally abbreviated to Prendelgast or Prendergast. In the latter form it has been considered territorial, and Mr. Ferguson, in his Surnames as a Science, labours to interpret it as follows: "Prendergast is, I take it, an ancient compound from the stem bend (A.-S. bend, band, crown, chaplet) with gast, hospes. It first takes a medial vowel between the two words of the compound, and becomes Pend-e-gast. Then e naturally becomes er, passing the very slight barrier which English pronunciation affords, and the name, having become Pendergast, finds the need of a second r to balance the first, and becomes Prendergast."
Much ingenuity, as it appears to me, is here wasted in the endeavour to transmute a Norman into a Saxon name; but it is with the original form, Prendirlegast, that we have here to do. Were it not invariably preceded by de, we might conjecture it to be a nickname, as Prendre le Gast—whatever that may mean; but it seems more likely, from the example of St. Denis-le-Gast, to be a true name with an adjunct. It is true that I cannot attempt to explain Le Gast. Is it the same as Vaast or Wast, frequently found in the Cotentin as a termination of place names? Nor can I in any way elucidate the meaning of the following lines:
"This peuysh proud this prender gest
When he is well yet can he not rest."
They were written by Skelton in the seventeenth century.
Sir Bernard Burke states that this family settled in Pembrokeshire and at Akill, in Northumberland, at the time of the Conquest. In the Testa de Nevill, however, we find William de Akill holding at Akill de veteri feoffamento. Perhaps he had adopted the name of his manor. In Wales, on the other hand, the Prendergasts gave theirs to a parish now forming part of the borough of Haverfordwest, which continued in their possession till Maurice de Prendergast sailed with Earl Strongbow to Ireland in the spring of 1170.
The posterity he left in that kingdom was sufficiently numerous; but in England I have only met with the name three times in public records. Robert de Prendelgast of Lincolnshire is found in the Pipe Roll of 1189-90: John Prendergast, Preceptor of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem of Greenham, in a catalogue of Berkshire gentry of the time of Henry III. (v. Lysons): and William de Prendergast, an adherent of the Earl of Lancaster, was pardoned for his participation in the death of Gaveston, in 1313.—Palgrave's Parl. Writs. In Scotland, on the other hand, the Prendergasts are often mentioned, and occur at so early a date that it would appear they had crossed the Border even sooner than the Irish Channel. A village in the neighbourhood of Coldingham, Plendergast, formerly Prenagest, retains their name to this day, and "was one of the 'mansions' granted by Edgar, son of Malcolm Canmore, to the monks of Durham on his restoration to the crown of Scotland."—Ridpath's Border History. "William de Prendelath," named in 1295 in the "Submission of men of the shires of Roxburgh and Perth" to Edward I. was probably the same Sir William Prendregist who is included in the list of "Magnates" serving under him at the battle of Stirling in 1303. A "Mons. Henri de Prendirgest" brought the King the news of the capture of "Mons. Symon Fresel," at which he had himself assisted, and "was rewarded accordingly."—Affairs and History of Scotland, by Sir Francis Palgrave. Sir Peter de Prendreguest was one of the eleven knights who made their submission with John Comin to Edward I. at Dunfermline in 1304.—Ridpath's Border History. Another Sir William Prendegaste—perhaps the son of the former—fought among the barons "in the III warde of the batailles of Skotelonde" commanded by the Earl of Ross, in 1333.—Glastonbury MS. The name lingered on the Borders for more than two centuries and a half after this. "'Prenderguest' was one of the gentlemen of the Eastern March that, in 1591, subscribed the oath of allegiance to James VI., "binding themselves not to shrink from His Majesty's service for any cause, as they shall answer to Almighty God and His Majesty upon their faith, honour, or allegiance.'"—Ridpath. They bore a fleur de lis, as shown on the seal of Henry de Prendergast, appended to one of the Coldingham charters, but not—in his case at least—on a shield. Another seal, accidentally brought to light during the trenching of a field in Perthshire, and "undoubtedly the work of the fourteenth century," bears the name of John de Prendergast, and a shield with the singular device of a fleur de lis, with a sprig or stamen issuing from between the centre and dexter leaf.
But it was in Ireland that the family chiefly flourished and extended itself. They struck root in Tipperary, as Sir Bernard Burke informs us, nearly seven hundred years ago, and seated themselves at Newcastle Prendergast, on the river Suir, which washes the walls of their manor house on its way to Cahir Castle and Clonmell. In that county alone their territory stretched from Cahir to Cappoquin, and from Fethard to Cloghean; and they were to be met with in many others. Philip de Prendergast witnesses King John's charter to Grane Abbey, Kildare; and "Dominus Philippus de Prendilgast" another of Edward I. to Ponte Priory, Fermoy.—Mon. Angl. The Prendergasts of Clan Morris, co. Mayo, are mentioned by Camden. In Cork, the name is sometimes given Pindergrace; and, like most of its Norman compeers, it was now and then adopted by the conquered Celts, who were ordered to disguise their nationality under an alien patronymic. Thus, in 1575, Sir Henry Sidney writes from Galway: "There came to me" (with several others) "Mark Morris, of English syrname, Prendergast.... All submitted and seemed desirous to lyve in loyaltie, and under the lawes and subjection of the crown of England."
One of this extensive Irish family received a baronetcy. Thomas Prendergast of Newcastle, who married a sister of the eleventh Earl of Ormond, and died in 1725 at the patriarchal age of one hundred and eleven, left three sons, Jeffrey, Thomas, and James. Of the eldest and the youngest Burke tells us that "many descendants still exist;" but the posterity of Thomas only continued in the male line for one more generation. He was a Brigadier General in Marlborough's army; and having accidentally discovered a plot against the life of William III. was created a baronet, and further recompensed with a grant of Gort in Galway, the forfeited estate of Roger O'Shaughnessy. He fell at the battle of Malplaquet, and was succeeded by a son and namesake, who died s. p. in 1760, "whilst a patent was being drawn out raising him to the Viscountcy of Clonmell." Three sisters remained, all of them married; but the inheritance became vested in the youngest, Elizabeth; and her son by her second husband, Charles Smyth, was created Viscount Gort in 1816. These Prendergasts do not give the sprouting fleur de lis of the Scottish house. They bear Gules a saltire Vair.
The name has travelled into Spain, where Senor Moret Prendergast, often called the Spanish Cobden, is a foremost man among the Dynastic Democrats, and the leader of the Free Trade party (1882).