The derivation of the name of Preston is a matter of doubt. Some of the writers claim that it is derived from praestans, 'excellent,' and others say the name was assumed by the family from their landed estates in Mid-Lothian, Scotland, while there are indications that the estates were named from the circumstance that the owner somewhere along the line was a priest; thus Priest-town, or Preston.
This is almost certainly the origin of the name in the case of the city of Preston, from the fact that the first settlement made there was by a company of monks. This latter theory seems to be borne out, moreover, by the family crest, adopted from the
earliest time, which is thus described: ''This crest bore the pretty conceit of a castle, from whose high tower rose an eagle, illumed for higher flight, with the pious aspiration at its base— 'Si Dieu veult —which freely rendered means, 'Leaving the towers of earth we soar D. V. to heaven.'
Whatever may have been the origin of the name of Preston, it was borne by the family as early as the time of Malcolm I. of Scotland, who reigned from A. D. 944 to 953.