Distribution of the Primrose surname

throughout England and Scotland




After a lot of thought and quite a few miles travelled I have come to the conclusion

that ultimately all Primrose families originated from the same source. And that the

Norfolk Primrose families descend from the Scottish Primrose family.


Within this document you will read about the distribution of the Primrose family name. For sources I will use numerous documents such as patent rolls, Book of fees, and treasury rolls to name a few.


After exhausting almost all the easy to get records such as censuses and Parish records I found myself wanting more, that genealogy bug had found itself another victim and now I find myself within the walls of Glasgow library looking through the rows of books some of which are very ancient indeed.


The result of my research is that I now have a dozen records of Primeroles and Primeroses between the years 1250 and 1450. These are so scattered over the various counties as to indicate that the name was as common then as it is now, and possibly in the same proportion to the then population of England to what it is now.

The evidence which these records give suggests to me that the surname either came over from Normandy about 1066 or was taken up by Norman families here in England or Scotland in early times and certainly long before 1250, which is the date of my earliest record.






In the book of fees page 1203, 1237, and 1257 there is mentioned the names Primerole, Premerol, and Premerole dated 1250. It reads as follows:- Et iijs de Nicholas Primerole pro xiiij acris ferre de eadem, etc in Surrey. There are three entries all having the name spelt slightly different but alluding to the same individual. This is important and you will understand why as you read on.


In the catalogue of Ancient deeds, volume 1 Surrey 1305, there appears the following, a grant by Adam le Rede of Kyngston and Edith Waleys his wife, to Richard de Newdegate and aAlice his wife, and John Primerole of Surbeton granting a piece of land in Kyngston, in the field of Surbeton at Le Elmhagne. This is dated Saturday after the Annuncation, 33 Edward 1, 25.3.1305.


You will  note that Nicholas and John are in Surrey probably both Kingston, there is also a record in 1350 where the same John Primerole of Kyngston sells a bit of land in the Mersshe at Clayhulle in Kyngston, dated 24th Edward 111 (1350).

Here we have a John Primerole whose old enough to buy land in 1305 and young enough to sell land in 1350. he could be a grandson of the above Nicholas Primerole.







The next book I asked to view was titled Ancient deeds, this book when opened to the page concerned sent one of those cold shivers down my spine. Here while sat in the Glasgow library I was reading about a Bartholomew Prymrose who came from the village of South Repps in Norfolk, he later turned out to be a direct descendant

of mine twenty seven generations back.  The deeds told about a grant by Bartholomew Prymrose of South Repps dated 7.2.1413 to a John kydelomb of the same village of a messuage with a close in South Repps and two pieces of land in Thorpe Market one at Lose and the other in Losefield. 

Here with Bartholomew Prymrose, I think we have one of the early Primroses from which my branch have descended. Where did he come from I hear you say, I may be able to hint at this in good time.


I am now taking you over to Compton by Salisbury where we find a William Primerolt. From the Inquisition rolls of Edward 1, dated 10.4.1289, vol 2 page 153/4. I will not quote this verbatim but will explain the case involved. A Maud de Haversham is before the court to try and establish her age. She is a ward of chancery and William Primerolt is a witness and says that he has been in the employment of her father during her lifetime and was present at her baptism.

Also the case of Agnes de Santa Cruce in 1401, where a John Primerol receives a penny .






We are now crossing  over to Suffolk the date is 1294 and we have a Roger Primerole getting into trouble with others by damaging property at a fair in Beuhale, County Suffolk. Roger Primerole and his accomplices are deported from Portsmouth to Gascony after being found guilty of the above crime.


That was about all I could find in the Glasgow library, a very exhausting but worthwhile couple of days. But still I did not have the answers I so desperately wanted so I decided that after a well earned break a trip to the Public Record Office in London was in order.


What I found in London I think will be the closest I will come to unraveling this genealogical jigsaw puzzle. The first entry I found was dated London 30.5.1362. It described the property of a Bernard Primeroll being escheated by the then mayor on behalf of King Edward 111, because Bernard happened to die without heirs.






I will now give you this one in full as it relates to the Norfolk Primroses whom I am related. It is from the patent rolls volume 1408-13 page 47 dated 1.4.1409. It is about a William Primerose and the Manor of Couteshale. Exemplification at the request of the tenants of the Manor of Couteshale of the tenors of the following. A William Wilby, Richard Wyth, Roger de Toft, William Primerose, Seman Bluet, Geoffrey son of Godwin, Thomas Berd, Richard Delhat, Robert Turtenell, John Attehil and Andrew Cole. There are in ancient demesne and in the Kings hands 700 acres of arable land, 9 acres and 2 roods worth yearly rent of assize 8/15/41/2. A meadow and turbary 27/. Pasture 3/. Fishery and all issues 20/8. Total amount 9/6/01/4.


After some studying I think that the above William Primerose is the father or the brother of Bartholomew Prymrose of South Repps.


I have several others of a similar kind that I need not quote but there is one which is off the utmost importance and it may ultimately connect the Norfolk Primroses with the Scottish families. It comes from the Charter rolls volume 1 page 464. It is dated 27.3.1257. Westminster, Inspeximus and confirmation of a charter whereby Roger de Quincey the Earl of Winchester and Constable of Scotland gave to Peter, the son of Roger de Leicester and his heirs for his homage and service, twenty two and a half virgates with a cottage in Sideston, with the villeine and all that goes with it. That is Roger Woderove one virgate, Hugh Aunsel one virgate, John Semer one virgate, Walter Hendedman half a virgate, Stephen Bernard a half a virgate, Walter Bolle a half a virgate, Robert de Bland a half a virgate, John Youngebonde one virgate, Gilbert Godith a half a virgate, William de Sarlerne a half a virgate, Richard Aunsel one virgate, Roger son of Semer one virgate, John le Petyt one virgate, William de Dalby one and a half virgates, Wygod son of Godwin a half a virgate, Roger Godblod one virgate, Alan the Smith one virgate, Roger de Kuylton one virgate, John de Thormaneston one virgate, Hugh son of Thormaneston one virgate, Simon son of Ralph one virgate, Roger the Smith one virgate, William Eiliot one virgate, Robert Randolf one virgate, Hugh Franceys a half a virgate, and William Primerose a cottage in Sideston.

For anyone who does not know what a virgate is, it is a straight piece of land measuring 30 acres.


I have learned recently that the Sideston mentioned above could be the Sidestan in Lincolnshire. But I like to think it is the village of  Sidestrand in Norfolk which did hold a few Primroses in recent years.






In 1375 there was a William Primerole in Lancashire. This is the most westerly situated Prymrose that I can find in early times and it would seem to me he wandered out of the east for some reason or other. I also have a William Primerole in Canterbury in 1253, thus it can be said that between the years 1250 and 1450 there were Primeroles and Primeroses well distributed over England. The earliest that I have found in Wales is in the 17th century so that does not count as old.


Up in Scotland right on the eastern seaboard we find a small farm of about 200 acres this farm is known as the Lands of Primrose and is mentioned in a charter of King David 1st of Scotland as being  granted to the monks of Dunfermline Abbey by his brother Alexander 1st who reigned 1107-1124. It at least suggests a connection between the Primeroles and the Primeroses of the eastern counties bordering Scotland.


One of my lines of argument is that my Primroses came from Scotland  in the same William who was granted the cottage in Sideston, because I know that Roger de Quincy the man who granted William the cottage married a South Scotland lady and must have spent time in Scotland. His father and grandfather owned a mill in Leuchars in Fifeshire and paid a yearly sum to the monks of Dunfermline Abbey. Leuchars is so near to the lands of Primrose that the whole outlook is suggestive of a connection.

If we accept that William went from Scotland to Lincolnshire it would be a very easy step to make to go to Norfolk and the time frame 1257-1300 would allow it.


In a later more recent period we have Primroses in Hereford, most of them ministers. From all these localities and periods I feel that, like a big jigsaw puzzle it might with care be made to show a fairly respectable and reliable picture.


If anyone has anything to add or has a query regarding the above, please do not hesitate to e-mail me by clicking on the postbox.




Michael Bird




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