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English: habitational name from any of the places so called, in southwestern Lancashire (now Merseyside), Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, and Devon, all of which are named from Old English preost ‘priest’ + cot ‘cottage’, ‘dwelling’. The surname is most common in Lancashire, and so it seems likely that the first of these places is the most frequent source. It is also present in Ireland, being recorded there first in the 15th century.