Rosser, Prosser and (presumably) Prossor.
I was not aware of the Prossor spelling until
this interesting note from Mr. William Bramhill :
"I have been researching the name Prossor for
some years, and I think it might mean son of the swordmaker - or could it just
be the son of Ross? I started off by thinking the name was Welsh, and almost
fell into the same trap as some Mormon family members in the 1910s who tried
without success to establish a link between the Prossors of
Southampton/Portsmouth and Wales, then gave up.
The root of the name appears to be Irish, at least as far back as the late
1600s, though it would appear to have been a Welsh family which emigrated and
settled, possibly in Tudor times. My family is descended from two
Tipperary-born brothers, Anthony and Samuel, who set up business in England in
I have detail of my research here:
The spelling Prossor is almost exclusively Irish, although there are a few
Welsh Prossors who use the second "o". Likewise, Prosser with an "e" seems
rare in Ireland, and I cannot find any Irish Prosso(e)rs in the current Irish
If it helps, please feel free to add my research to your excellent work on
My reply to Mr.
Bramhill follows - we would both be interested if you have comments.
I think we have to look at the origin of the name. I'm not an expert on Irish
names but the Welsh origin of names of this type is clear. In Welsh there was
no sound for "j" or the "g" in Roger. The nearest sound in Welsh was "s" or
"si". Thus, in the Welsh context the name appeared as Roser, Rosser, Rhoser,
and Rhosier. The origin of the modern Prosser (and I think that Prossor is
just a variant) can be seen as early as 1292. Morgan and Morgan (Welsh
Surnames) give the example of Cadugan ap Roser. It seems that Rosser became
the favoured spelling, although a Rhosier fought at the battle of Agincourt in
1415. Of course ap Rosser (son of Rosser) became Prosser.
The Welsh would have become familiar with the name Roger soon after the Norman
Conquest of 1066. It is possible that an ap Rosser appeared in Ireland with
the Geraldine invasion. The Fitzgeralds were kinsmen of Giraldus Cambrensis
(Gerald of Wales), with a family home in west Wales.
To settle the question of origin, you would need to consult a standard text on
Irish surnames, but I'm betting that the early Prossors were Welsh! Your
theory of a settlement in Tudor times might well be correct but the name could
have been brought to Ireland much earlier. The Prossor spelling might simply
reflect an aspect of Irish pronunciation.
See also: Evans - Bevan -
Biven - Bivins, Griffiths, Hughes,
, Morgan, Rees and Price etc,
Stackpole , Van, Place names as surnames
, names from 1327 and Mysterious names