Origins of the surname Proctor

This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational name for a steward, deriving from the Middle English "prok(e)tour", a contracted form of the Old French "procurateor", from the Latin "procurare", to manage. The term was used most commonly for an attorney in a spiritual court, but also of other officials such as collectors of taxes and agents licensed to collect alms on behalf of lepers and enclosed orders of monks. Variant forms of the surname, in the modern idiom, include Prockter and Procter. The surname first appears in records in the late 13th Century (see below), while other early examples include: William le Procuratur, recorded in Lincolnshire in 1292; Johanna la Proketour, noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire in 1301; and John Proketour, listed in the 1356 Book of Fees of Durham Priory. An interesting namebearer was Richard Anthony Proctor (1837 - 1888), who according to the "Dictionary of National Biography" was an imminent astronomer, who successfully lectured in America in 1873, and founded "Knowledge", a weekly scientific periodical in 1881. The family Coat of Arms depicts on a silver shield, a black chevron between three red martlets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas le Procurator, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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. -- www.surnamedb.com

This page belongs to the Eucalypt Family History collection, maintained by Ryk Field. Reach me by email to: rykfield@gmail.com