PRINGLE - HISTORY OF SURNAME

Entry in Black's

The old form of this surname was Hoppringle or Hopringle, from the old lands of that name near Stow in Roxburghshire. The earliest notice of the name is in a Soutra charter in which Robert de Hoppryngil is witness to a gift to the Hospital confirmed by Alexander III ( Soltre p.29). Elys de Obrinkel, tenant of the bishop of St. Andrews in Edinburghshire, rendered homage in 1296. His seal bears a hunting horn and S' Helias de Hoprigkil (Bain, II, p. 205, 544). Thomas de Oppringyl or Hoprynghil occurs in 1368 (RMS., I, 280, 289). John Pryngel in Fife is mentioned in 1406 (RPSA., p. 9). Robert de Hoppringill witnessed a charter by Archibald, 4. Earl of Douglas, c. 1413 ( Home 18), and William Pringle of Craiglatch had Crown tacks of Craiglatch in 1485 and 1490. Dand Pringill was a constable of Cessford in 1515 (Morton, p. 30), and in 1573 there is a mention of James Hoppryngill, "beidman" of Edinburgh (Soltre, p.225). Isobell Oppringill was a spouse of William Heburne in 1562 (CMN., 83). The pronunciation of the name is now Pring-ill. It has nothing to do with "pilgrim". Hoppringeile 1555, Hoppringil 1503, Hoppringill and Hopppringle 1567, Pringel 1470, Pringell 1655.

For a different view :

Entry in The Scottish Nation

Pringle, a surname prevalent in the South of Scotland, a corruption, as George MacKenzie conjectures, of the word Pelerin or pilgrim. The account of the Pringles states that one Pelerin, who had gone on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, having settled in Teviotdale, his descendants were called from him Hop Pringle. The prefix Hop being synonymous with the British Ap or Irish O, signifying a son or descendant, Hop Pringle is, therefore, supposed to have meant the son of the pilgrim. The pilgrim's badge of a scallop shell forms a part of the armorial bearings of all the families of the name.

Eminent Pringle's and Families

The Hop Pringles of that ilk, afterwards the Pringles of Torsonce, on Gala Water, were the head of one branch of the name settled in Mid Lothian, and the adjoining portions of East Lothian and Berwickshire. The principle families of this branch were the Pringles of Burnhouse, Hawtree, and Glengelt and those of Rowchester and Lees in the Merse. Their male line failed with the death of Torsonce in 1738. His only daughter, Margaret, having married Gilbert Pringle, one of the Pringles of Stitchell, carried the estates into that family. John Pringle of Lees then became heir male, but his family also is extinct. (Burke's Landed Gentry, Supp. P.262)


Another branch of the Pringles were the descendants of the family of Whitsome, Berwickshire, afterwards designed of Smailholm and Galashiels. Robert Hop Whitsome is mentioned in a donation to the monastery of Soltray, confirmed by Alexander III. For their support of the Bruce family, in their competition for the crown, the Pringles of Whitsome were deprived of their lands by King John Bailiol, who conferred them upon John de L'yle, confirmed by a charter from King Edward I of England, 13th October 1295. After the battle of Bannockburn, the lands were restored to Reginald Hop Pringle of Whitsome, by charter from Robert Bruce in 1315. ......... continued.


The Pringles of Torwoodlee, Selkirkshire, are descended from William Pringle of Smailholm (previous family) who had a tack of the forest steid of Caddonlee in 1488, and one of Torwoodlee in 1509, to him and his son George. In the same year he had a charter of one-fourth part of the barony of Cliftoun, Roxburghshire, which afterwards was sold to another branch of the Pringles. He was slain at the battle of Flodden in September 1513.

His son, George Pringle of Torwoodlee, was at the battle of Pinkie in 1547. In 1568 he was murdered by a party of Liddesdale reivers, to the number of 300, consisting of Elliots, Armstrongs, and other clans from the west border, under John Elliot of Copshaw, who had attacked, plundered and burnt the house of Torwoodlee. ......... to be continued.

Entry in Scottish Surnames by Donald Whyte

PRINGLE The old form of this name was Hoppringle, from the lands of that name on the Gala Water; near Stow. The earliest notice found of the name is in a Soutra charter in which Robert Hoppryngil is a witness to a gift to the Hospital there, confirmed by   Alexander 111(1249-93). Thomas de Oppringill or Hopyringhil occurs in 1368, and Johyn Pryngel appears in Fife in 1406. Robert of Hoppringill witnessed a charter ca. 1413. The leading family were the Hoppringles of that Ilk, afterwards of Torsonce. Other families of note were at Burnhouse, Hawtree, Glengelt, Rowchester; Lees, Stichell, and at Whitsome in Berwickshire. From the Pringles of Whitsome descended those of Whyte bank. The male line of the Torsonce family failed in 1737, but a daughter of John Pringle had married Gilbert Pringle of Stitchell, near Kelso and carried the estates to that family. Robert Pringle of Stitchell was created a Baronet of NS in 1683. John, youngest son of Sir John, 2nd Baronet, was a distinguished physician. The 10th Baronet is Lt. Gen. Sir Steuart R. Pringle, who had a notable career in the Royal Marine Commandos, 1946-90. Thomas Pringle, 1789-1831, from Teviotdale, was a pioneer settler in South Africa, but returned to become secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society.


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Tom Paterson
(last updated 9th Sep 2000)