Purves Spelling or Orthography

Purves has an ‘occupational’ origin stemming from the “the collection or requisition of provisions for a sovereign” – Purveyance (purvea(u)nce, purvya(u)nce in Middle English and purveance in Old French).

The first recorded spelling of Purves/Purvis, the modern day forms, is Purueis and yet there are many other spellings that one needs to be alert too when researching especially early literature.

The early spoken word, Purveyance, in Middle English probably had phonetic spelling and is reported as purveaunce, purveyance, purvyaunce or purvyance.

In addition it was common to find a “f” representing an “s” in Latin, often “w”, “v” and “u” where interchangeable, I suspect “n” is written badly and might be a “u” or “v”, “i” may be replaced by a “y” – suffice to say surname spelling was not a strong point of the few people who could write.

If the person recording a surname (most often a clergyman, session clerk, court clerk, registrar or in the 19th century a census enumerator) was unfamiliar with the accent of the informant or the spelling of a name, they might record the name incorrectly, or simply write it down as they heard it.

I have found the following spellings;

In Latin texts

Parvus, Pourays, Porveys, Purueis, Puruey, Purueys, Puruys


Purveir, Purveer

old French

Porveeir, Porveoir

In 16C-18C texts

Parvis, Perves, Porneys, Pourves, Pureis , Purneys, Purneyes, Purues, Purvas, Purvays, Purves, Purvis, Purvey, Purveys, Purvose, Purvoyis, Purwas, Purwase, Purways, Purwes

In 19C Texts

Purves, Purvis


I have noted and collected reported spellings by others and list them below – however I have not found any examples of these to date in printed or written documents;

Parves, Parveys, Pirves, Pervice, Pervis, Porves, Porveys, Porvois, Purrves, Purv, Purvies, Purve, Purveis, Purvese, Purvess, Purvoes, Purvos, Purvus, Purvs

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