Pritchard Surname Genealogy

Welsh patronymic ap Rhisiart or
ap Richard (meaning “son of Richard”)
translated into the English surnames Prichard and Pritchard when they
began to
displace Welsh-style appellations in the 16th century.
These English names appeared not just in
Wales but in the English counties bordering or in close proximity to
Pritchard spelling began to replace Prichard in Wales as the 19th
. Pritchard
is now the dominant

Pritchard Resources on

Pritchard Ancestry

Wales. Prichard
only emerged as a surname in Wales when English-style surnames
developed in the
16th century. There seems to have been
no regional bias to the name as it was found in both south and north

Wales. The English nomenclature may
mask the Welsh ancestry. William ap
Richard of Llanover Court in Monmouthshire, the first to adopt the name
Richard, later took the surname of Prichard.
He died in the late 1500’s and his tombstone read as follows:

the bodies of William Prichard esq. of Llanover and Matthew Prichard
esq. of
Llanover, his son and heir, lineally descended from the body of Cradock
Vras, Earl of Hereford and prince between the Wye and Severn.”

The family
fortunes fluctuated during the 17th century.
Llanover manor was lost during the Civil War, the Goytre manor
the Llanover estate reclaimed after the Restoration.
But this had to be sold in 1730, although
Prichards did remain in the area.

Another old lineage, said to have been descended
from Ifor Bach, characterized the
Prichards of Llancaiach Fawr
in Glamorgan.
It was Dafydd ap Richard who built the manor house around 1550. His best-known descendant was Colonel Edward
Prichard, the man who successfully changed sides during the Civil War.

Wales. Some early Prichards were
churchmen. Edward Prichard was vicar of
Llansannan in Conwy in 1660. William
grew up in Caernarvonshire in the early 1700’s but
made his mark in
Anglesey as a Dissenting minister. Meanwhile Richard Pritchard,
who died in 1722,
was the first to be described as of Trescawen in
Anglesey. The family were local
gentry. His son William Pritchard was
Sheriff of Anglesey in 1786 and George Pritchard held the same title in

England. A few Welsh Prichards made it
to London. Francis Prichard came in the
early 1600’s and
was a ropemaker in Southwark. His son
William, who initially took up his father’s trade, later prospered as a
merchant, was Lord Mayor of London in 1682 and then MP for the City of
London. He died in 1705 with an estate
in Buckinghamshire but left no male heirs.

Pritchard in London at this time was said to have been Stephen
a man who may have emigrated to the island of St. Helena after the
Great Fire
of 1666. A descendant Henry Pritchard
was responsible for monitoring Napoleon when he was exiled there in 1815

Most Pritchards
in England, however, were to be found in the border counties. Two notable Pritchards from Shropshire were:

  • Thomas
    Farnolls Pritchard, born in Shrewsbury in 1723, who was the man who
    the first Ironbridge. Pritchard Way in
    Shrewsbury commemorates him.
  • and
    Pritchard family from Broseley near Bridgenorth. John
    Pritchard, a victualler by trade who
    died in 1799, was the forebear of a successful
    legal and
    banking family that continued until 1891 (when Lloyds acquired the

Pritchard name later extended into Staffordshire and Lancashire.

The Pritchard name does occur in Ireland,
presumably from either Welsh or English origins. Two
Pritchards who subsequently crossed the
Atlantic to America were:

  • the
    Pritchards of Coppingerstown in county Cork who
    may have been there since the 17th century. Paul
    Pritchard departed from there for South Carolina in the
    1760’s and
    acquired the Charleston naval

    in 1788. He and his son William operated
    the yard building ships until 1831.
  • and
    the Pritchards of Currin parish in
    county Monaghan who were probably 18th century Irish arrivals. James and Judith Pritchard emigrated from
    there to Alcove in Quebec in the 1830’s

America. There
were two early Pritchard arrivals in America, but from England not

  • Thomas
    Pritchard to Virginia in 1610
  • and
    William Prichard to New England in the 1630’s.

Virginia. Thomas Pritchard arrived in Jamestown,
with two brothers, on the Starr in
1610. He came from Kent, does not
appear to have been Welsh, and his surname sometimes was Prickett or
Pritchett. His line extended through his
son Thomas in Westmoreland county, Virginia and then onto Loudoun
county. John

fought in the
Revolutionary War and belatedly received his pension in 1834, by which
time he
had moved to Indiana. Emily Cary’s 2006
book The Pritchard Family History
covered the line.

New England. William
Prichard from Suffolk was probably originally a Pritchett as well. He came to New England in the 1630’s and
later was one of the original settlers of Brookfield, Massachusetts. William and his son Samuel were both slain
during an Indian attack on the village in 1675.

was outside the garrison at Brookfield
when the attack began. They cut off his head, tossed it about like a
ball in
sight of the settlers, and then set on a pole against his dead father’s

Probably related to these Prichards was Roger
Pritchard who had come to Boston in 1636 and later settled in the New
colony. His son Joseph was also killed
in this Brookfield massacre.

Welsh Prichards. The Prichards who began to appear in
and Maryland in the late 1600’s may have been the first Welsh Prichards
America. Henry Pritchard was a Quaker
who came to Philadelphia around the year 1682.
Obadiah and Margaret Prichard, married in 1699, were the
forebears of a
line in Baltimore county, Maryland. James
Prichard fought in the Revolutionary War and subsequently headed
west to Kentucky to farm. His
descendants formed a Prichard Association in Indiana in 1912 and Martha
Johnson’s 1915 book The Prichard Family
covered their family line.

Another arrival in Kentucky, in 1811, was William
Prichard. Tradition has it that William
was born in Wales and kidnapped and brought to Virginia with his
brother John
where they were apprenticed to Virginia planters.

William Pritchard was born
probably in Tennessee in 1812. He died
in 1864 of disease contracted during the Civil War, leaving a son Jeter
just seven. Jeter, apprenticed out,
later embarked on a political career which culminated in him becoming
the US
Senator for North Carolina from 1895 to 1903.
His son George ran twice as Governor for North Carolina, but in
each case
was unsuccessful.

South Wales in the 19th century offered farming and coal
mining as occupations, but at low wages.
America beckoned for some:

  • John Pritchard from Treflys in
    Breconshire departed for Ohio
    in 1860 and later homesteaded in Illinois. His
    son Will farmed in Chelsea, Michigan. They
    felt fortunate to have escaped the
    grinding poverty back in Wales.
  • while
    William Pritchard from Carmarthenshire came out
    as a young man to Pennsylvania in 1881 and worked in the coal mines
    before migrating to West Virginia where he became general manager of a
    of coal companies.

Africa. Charles
, a descendant of the St. Helena Pritchards,
to the Cape Colony
in 1838. He farmed in Langeberg and was
one of the pioneers at Beaufort West.
Kenneth Pritchard’s 1989 book The
Pritchard Family in South Africa
covered this history plus the
family history in St. Helena

Pritchard Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Pritchard Names


was an early Welsh nonconformist, a pioneer of dissent in the Anglesey
area in
the mid-18th century.

Thomas Farnolls Pritchard

from Shropshire is best
remembered for his design of the first cast iron bridge in the world. This bridge spanned the Severn river in
Shropshire and was completed in 1780.
Jack Pritchard
was a London-based furniture designer
was influential in England during the inter-war period of the 20th


Select Pritchards Today

  • 32,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Glamorgan)
  • 10,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 12,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




Click here for reader

Click here for return
to front page

Leave a Reply