According to the Records of the Pringles of the Scottish Border (1933), the surname Hoppringill, or Pringle, dates from the reign of Alexander III of Scotland (1249-86) and is one of the oldest surnames of the Scottish Border region. The name originally pertained to a hill just north of Galashiels, called Hoppringle, and was thus used by the occupants of that locale, the place name literally meaning ‘the small, enclosed valley of the round (or ringed) hill’. Hoppringill became Pringill in the 15th century, becoming the dominant form of that surname around 1590. The last recorded use of Hoppringill as a surname was in 1737.
In the 14th century, the Pringles were closely allied with the Earls of Douglas, being squires of that house. Later descendants were in evidence at the courts of Kings James IV and V, at least two being trumpeters in the tail of James IV, and one falling at his side at Flodden, in 1513. For one hundred years, from about 1489, a succession of Pringle ladies (usually younger daughters) were Prioresses of the Convent at Coldstream. The association of Pringles with the woollen industry can be traced to 1540, when one of their name held the responsibility for overseeing the shearing, storage, and transportation of the wool from the King’s sheep. (Famously, Robert Pringle established the fashion brand Pringle of Scotland in Hawick in 1815.)
The Pringle family seat was initially at Hoppringle, north of Galashiels, but the Pringles also built the strongholds of Smailholm Tower, Buckholm Tower, Torwoodlee Tower and House, Old Gala House, Whytbank Tower, Yair House, Stichill House, and the Haining House in Selkirk. The Pringle heraldic symbol is a scallop shell, and their motto is Amicitia Reddit Honores (‘Friendship Gives Honour’).