Mystery Monday: Perteiza

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Today’s mystery is from late 16th C Somerset, and is as far as we can tell a hapax legomenon: We’ve found three records of the name, all to the same person. Perteiza Batten, daughter of Launcellott was christened in Bruton in 1592 (that’s the instance we have in our data). She married Willm. Harlidg in 1608/9, and then in 1638, Wm son of Wm. and Perteza Harledg was buried.

A search of google returns no use of this as a name other than by this woman.

Where on earth did Launcellott Batten find this name? We searched the rest of the register to see if the names of his family members could provide any clue, but didn’t find much. He married Agnes Beastley in 1588, and their first daughter, Joan, was born a year later. Then came Perteiza, Mary in 1594, and Edith 1596. A fifth daughter, Elizabeth, was born and buried in 1599, and he himself died in 1608/9, a month after Perteiza’s marriage.

All the rest of the names are utterly unexceptional in 16th C England. Whither Perteiza? This may be one mystery we never crack.


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

8 responses to “Mystery Monday: Perteiza

  1. Diego

    The 1638 attestation in the Registers actually reads Pertiza (p. 152), and note also Pertizah later. William Harledge was buried on Jan 24 1638 (p. 153); P. married again on Oct 19 1639 (George West & Pertizah Harlidg, p. 23), and as Pertiza West was buried on Oct 7 1662 (p. 212).
    There is another instance in the same source: Pertiza Castle, christened on Feb 19 1603 (p. 61 – P. Batten was about ten at the time, unlikely to have been her godmother) and buried on Apr 13 1604 (p. 128).
    As for the origin of the name, all I can suggest is a feminine/hypocoristic from a name in -bert; cp. Bertissa from Berta with Latin suffix. There is one Cuthbert(t) Beastley who married on Jan 17 1571 and was buried on Ago 11 1588 (pp. 6, 118). He may have been Agnes Beastley’s father, and so Perteiza’s grandfather. All very conjectural of course.

  2. Jörg Knappen

    I wonder whether today’s mystery name can be connected to German Petrissa, a variant to Petra. It is just one metathesis away from that name. But this leaves the way of transmission of the name to England unexplained.

    • Jörg Knappen

      Following the Petrissa trace, here’s another interesting bit of information, from Seibicke, Historisches Deutsches Vornamenbuch: urspr. Umgestaltung von Beatrice (Karl Finsterwalder: Tiroler Namenkunde, Innsbruck 1978, S. 108 § 24.6), später aber als Mov. von Peter/Petrus verstanden [English: Originally a variant of Beatrice but later understood as a feminine form of Peter/Petrus).

      This brings in Beatrice as another potential source of the name form.

  3. Brian M. Scott

    The name is pretty clearly not a hapax legomenon. In Calendars of Wills and Administrations Relating to the Counties of Devon and Cornwall [PDF], covering the years 1540-1799, I find Pertesie Buckland 1617 and Pertesa Bickleigh als. Crooke 1688. In Parish of Topsham, co. Devon: Marriages, baptisms & burials, A.D. 1600 to 1837 there is a Pertesa Baker, but the year is not visible in the available snippet. (However, this web page makes it likely that she was married in 1606.) The Register of Baptisms, Marriages & Burials of the Parish of Ottery St. Mary, Devon, 1601-1837 has a Perteza Carnell, but again the year is not present in the available snippet. I also found a Pertesie Bateman, apparently of London, who married a Hugh Underhill in 1612; see here.

    All but the last of these names are from the southwest, Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall, and I conjecture that in these forms it’s a regional variant of Protesia; there is some evidence for that here, though it would be nice to see the actual sources.

    Still in the West Country I found a 16th century Protesia here, another from the the mid-17th century from The Visitations of Cornwall, a Protesia Pollard whose 1683 marriage is noted in The Visitation of the County of Cornwall, and another, apparently born in 1619 or 1620, in The Visitations of the County of Devon. Outside the West Country I found another who died in 1599 in Lincolnshire and a mother in Middlesex and daughter in Essex in the late 17th century.

    Searching turns up a number of clerics named Protesius, the corresponding Latin masculine form, which appears to be a variant of Protasius, as in the 2nd century saint. This volume of Lincolnshire pedigrees lists four women named Protasia; two of them seem to appear in this volume, in the 16th and 17th centuries.

    According to Morlet, Protasius is a Greco-Latin hypbrid from Greek πρῶτος (prõtos) ‘first’.

  4. There are about 50 occurrences of Pertisa and similar names between 1568 and 1756 in the Devon parish registers index on FindMyPast. The indexes give these variations
    Partese, Partesey, Partesia, Partesie, Partesy, Parthesa, Parthese, Parthesie, Partisa, Partyce, Pertesa, Pertese, Pertesey, Pertesia, Pertesie, Pertesy, Pertesye, Perteyse, Perthaysie, Pertisa, Pertosie, Portesia, Portheasey, Purtasi, Purtaysey, Purtecia, Purtese, Purtesea, Purtesey, Purteysey.
    I’ve randomly checked the images for seven entries and all but one were accurate transcriptions. Certainly not a hapax legomenon.

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