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Errors relating to the history of the Pringle clan!

Many early genealogists got the origins of the Pringle family name wrong, and one hundred and fifty years later these errors continue to this day. We believe it is vital to demolish these errors, once and for all.

  • The first error relates to the idea of the name being derived from pelerin or pilgrim.
  • The next error relates to the idea that the Hop is a prefix meaning 'son of', or that Hoppringle is hyphenated, because it’s not!
  • Another, is the name Pyngle being just one form of the spelling of Hoppringle.
  • Finally, the worst (in my view) that the 'Pyngles of Whitsome' were the progenitors of the Hoppringles of Smailholm. All absolute rubbish! There was never any connection between the Hoppringills and the Pyngles.

Alexander Pringle in his book ‘The Records of the Pringles or Hoppringills of the Scottish Border’ published in 1933, strongly rejected, on pages 29 to 31, the then prevailing and still current error that the Hoppringills were in some way descended from the Pyngle’s of Whitsome (e.g. Roger Pyngle of Whitsome and Adam Pyngle of Aberdeen) as absurd. The Hoppringills were all descended from the place or stead named Hoppringill.

NOTE (by Alex Pringle, in his book ‘The Records of the Pringles’)

Reference must be made to the early genealogists, Mackenzie, Nesbit, Douglas, and Robertson. Most of their fictitious statements with regard to the early Hoppringills have been discarded; but their identification of Roger Pyngle of Whitsome and Adam Pyngle of Aberdeen with the Hoppringills has been accepted up to the present day. Their method was simple.

Totally ignoring the fact that in the numerous occurrences of the names in the ancient records no Hoppringill had ever been found spell Pyngle, nor a Pyngle spelt Hoppringill, they altered the spelling of Hoppringill into Hop-Pringle, and of Pyngle into Pringle, when, presto, the identification was complete! Hence the long procession of semi-decapitated Hop-Pringles in Douglas's " Baronage'' and the wholly decapitated Hop Pringle of " The Outlaw Murray.''

The fact is that English surnames are constantly to be met with in Scotland during the reigns of Robert and David Bruce. Englishmen had flocked into the country under the Norman knights, and among them came this Roger Pyngille or Pyngel. King Robert divided Whitsome between him and Nicholas Fouler; but he afterwards forfeited these lands, along with those of Bonjedworth, under King David (G. S., R. S., Robertsons Index). Contemporary with Roger was William Pyngill, mentioned as an official in 1329 in the royal household (E. R.): while in the Percy Chartulary we read that on the 7th January 1332 " Earl Percy, with the Earl of Cornwall and Lord Neville, overtook at a ford and slew Thomas Pyngel, who with 200 horsemen had been pillaging Redesdale,'' " quidam proditor,'' a certain traitor, the English chronicler calls him. - We to and come now Adam Pyngle. He was practically contemporary with our Adam Hoppringill, squire to William James, the first Earls of Douglas, and was a prominent figure from 1360 till 1386, before when he died. The same or not as the Adam Pyngle of the Percy Chartulary who held lands in Northumberland and the Adam Pyngle of the Coldingham Chartulary who held fishings on Tweed, Adam appears some two dozen times in the Exchequer Rolls between 1360 and 1384 as " Custumar,'' or customs officer, of Aberdeen, collector of contributions for King David's ransom, bailie of Formartin, and Tutor of the heirs of William Scott. In the Great Seal he appears as a holder of lands in the shires of Aberdeen, Kincardine and Perth, and as a witness. On the 18th September 1363 Adam Pyngle, " mercator de Aberdene,'' has a, safe conduct to enter England with his goods and merchandise, with 4 companions, on horseback, and trade there for a year, taking back only the same horses that he brought (Rotuli Scotiae).

From the Registrum Episcopatus Aberdomensis we see his transactions in lands, and his foundation of a chaplaincy under the bishop of Aberdeen; and it is interesting to find him present at a bishop's court on the 24th October 1321 along with William Earl Douglas himself, who had succeeded his brother-in-law in the earldom of Mar in 1374 and consequently was often north in Aberdeenshire; also that he had been a fellow-witness with Archdeacon Barbour, author of The Bruce, and that he had an Anniversary celebrated in the cathedral church of Aberdeen on the 14th of July. From " The Acts of Parliament '' we learn that, along with John Mercer-whose " inestimable wealth '' the English Walsingham speaks of - and other burgesses, he was specially called to the Parliament of Perth, 13th January 1364, to consider King David's ransom; and again on 18th February 1369 to consider contradicted judgments, questions, and quarrels. Adam Pyngle married, before May 1861, Marjorie de Blackwater, daughter and heiress of William, called Ingramisman of Kincardineshire - not a daughter of the Earl Marischal, as recent authorities still keep repeating (G. S.). He had at least one son, Adam, who was alive in 1380 (E. R.). From The Antiquities of Aberdeen and Banff we find that his two daughters, his heirs, with consent of their husbands, wadset their respective halves of Blackwater, Katrina in 1400, and Isabella in 1402. In the Townhall of Aberdeen there can be seen an old undated plan of the city showing " Edie Pingle's Croft " still marked at Gerard-street. The statement that this Adam Pyngle, merchant, and customs officer for twenty years of Aberdeen, was the same as our Adam Hoppringill, squire to the Earls of Douglas, is thus absurd.

Finally, we find from the English Close Rolls, and the Subsidy Records of Sussex, Suffolk, and Yorkshire, that Pyngle or Pingel was a widely spread English surname when the first Hopprlngill appeared.. We note Robert Pingel, Hants, 28th February 1274; William Pingel, Hants, 1275; Gilbert Pyngel, Norfolk, 1275; John and Alexander Pingel, Yorkshire, 1297 and 1302 ; John Pyngle, Hants, 1305 ; Thomas Pyngel, Worcester, 1309; Simon Pyngil, Derbyshire, 1311; Alan Pyngel, Hants, 1325; Petronilla Pingel, Suffolk, 1327 ; William Pyngel, Suffolk, 1340, who, along with John Moigne and others, is apprehended for imprisoning the Archdeacon of Essex-reminding us of the above Adam Pyngle and his contemporary, Sir Walter de Moigne, sheriff of Aberdeenshire ; William Pyngel, Gloucestershire, 1348 ; William Pyngull, Worcester, 1401 ; and Richard Pyngill, vicar of Edlingham, Northumberland-possibly of the same stock as the Scottish Pyngles-1418.


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