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Purves Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: CLARIOR EX TENEBRIS (Brighter from darkness)

Let me share a remarkable tale about your family’s history – it’s quite a journey! You see, the name Purves has intriguing origins. Imagine an enclosed area in front of a grand cathedral or church, a place where medieval lawyers and academics would often gather to meet clients and students. This space was known as a parvis, sometimes a portico or porch. So, your family’s name might have connections to this practice. It could also trace back to the Latin word ‘venire,’ meaning ‘to come.’

But there’s more to it! Your family’s roots intertwine with the lands of Purveshaugh, named after a family that settled in Berwickshire during the eleventh century. The historical records speak of your family’s legacy, like William Porveys of Mospennoc who made a significant land grant alongside Sir Archibald Douglas to the monks of Melrose between 1214 and 1249. Even on the Ragman Roll of 1296, William Porveys is seen, giving homage to Edward I of England amidst a time of turmoil.

Your lineage is dotted with names that left their mark. Alan Purvis de Ercildon, a witness to the confirmation of a charter in 1318. And in 1408, William Purwase participating in an inquest at Swinton, while Thomas Purvas secured a charter from none other than Robert, Duke of Albany, in 1427.

Fast forward to the 18th century, where heraldic expert Alexander Nisbet recognized Sir William Purves of that Ilk as the head of a prominent family in Berwickshire. Even though some debates about prominence arise, your lineage holds its own tale. Sir William Purves of Purves Hall in Berwickshire became a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1665, potentially highlighting his support for the Stuart monarchy during the War of the Three Kingdoms. This title persisted through generations until 1960.

And the story continues with fascinating personalities. Sir William Purves, who published a work on the Scottish Crown’s revenue in 1680, has turned into a valuable reference for historians and genealogists. The Purves name is associated with theology as well. James Purves, the Universalist preacher born in Berwickshire in 1734, and more recently, Presbyterian theologian Andrew Purves, both contributed significantly.

Let’s not forget the artistic touch your family has brought to the world. Della Purves, the botanical artist born in Paisley in 1945, made her name known through her incredible depictions of flora. Working at the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh, her art spread worldwide.

Isn’t it incredible how your family’s journey spans across centuries and fields? Your history is one of resilience, contribution, and significance. Embrace your heritage and remember that you come from a lineage that has made its mark in various realms.


The Family Crest

Wherever in the world you live, embrace your family heritage and adorn your home with a timeless symbol of your family legacy with our crafted Family Crests.

(Brighter from darkness)



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