Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wautier Pieressone 1296

My family connection to the Pearson name starts with my mother Elmire Pearson and her father James Madison Pearson. The name can be traced back for certain to Edward Peersonne, born circa 1575 in Wilmslow, Pownell Fee, Cheshire, England. Family Tree.

The ancient county of Chester, now Cheshire (like the cat), lies in the northwest of England. Cheshire borders both Wales and Scotland. For many years after the Norman invasion of 1066, it was a area of dissent. Eventually, the Anglo-Saxon were overcome by William the Conqueror's French. Then, in the 13th and 14th centuries, it was awash with battles between the Scots to the north and the English. Today, the county borders the great city of Manchester and the rivalries are on the football field.

Once upon a time...

The first recorded use of the name Pearson is Wautier Pieressone del counte de Berewyk, who signs the Ragman Rolls as a land owner in Berwickshire, 28th Aug 1296, pledging allegiance to Edward I, King of England.

Read the Ragman Rolls in PDF. Read online, Ragman Rolls.

[Note, This date, 1296, has been commonly misreported as 1226. See Ancestry. But other sites have got it right. See MacPherson. King Edward I's reign was, 1239 - 1307. It was this Edward who was known as Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, who was portrayed in the movie Braveheart. The Ragman's Roll spelled Pierssone using the old letter  f, similar to the German ß (called eszett (sz) or  sharp s).]

Berewyk, or modern day Berwickshire, is an ancient border county situated on the eastern coast of Scotland. It lies on the north side of the river Tweed with the English county of Northumberland to the south. The title count signifies only a chieftain or clansman, as the Ragman's Roll has many other counts of Berewyk, and the Scots tended to organize themselves around a chieftain, or family member.

The suffix wyk is Frisian and signifies a village. Read more. The first name Wautier comes from the French Waltier, and the Anglo-Saxon, Waldheri, and signifies a (powerful) warrior.

In researching the Pearson Family, keep in mind the multitudes of spellings including: Peerson, Peersonne, Piersonne, Piersone, Pierson, Pairsone, Pearsone, Peirsonde, Peirsone, Peirsound, Pesirsaunde, Persone, Peyrsoune, Peyrson, etc.. What little that can be known with certainty about the name Pearson is that it is a combination of Piers and son. Piers is French for Peter. The designation Pierson, simply means son of Peter.

The name Piers over the centuries became Peter, keeping its French spelling in Scotland, Ireland, and in some northern English counties. During the Middle Ages, Piers was commonly used throughout England. Piers Plowman, written in the later half of the 14th century by William Langland, is a well-known Middle English allegorical poem. Piers Morgan, of Scottish and Irish descent, British journalist and CNN host has resurrected interest in the name.

William Wallace from Wikipedia
What of this Warrior, son of Piers, landowner of Berwyk? We know that he was a contemporary of William Wallace, who died in 1307. But we will never know if Wautier Pieressone fought with Wallace at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, a year after Wautier signed his oath of allegiance to Edward.

One wonders ...

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