Ayer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The ancient Anglo-Saxon culture once found in Britain is the soil from which the many generations of the Ayer family have grown. The name Ayer was given to a member of the family who was a person who was well-known as the heir to a title, fortune, or estate. The name is thought to be derived from the Old French eir, which is itself derived from the Latin heres, meaning "heir."
Early Origins of the Ayer family
The surname Ayer was first found in Derbyshire, where the ancestral home of the main branch of the Ayer family is thought to be located. Early written records of the name Ayer have been found in many counties, notably Derbyshire, Wiltshire, and Shropshire.
In the early legends of the Eyre family, it was recounted that a Knight named Eyre who fought with Richard the Lionheart at the Battle of Ascalon during the Crusades lost a leg while defending his King, which is why the family still bears a booted leg in its crest.
Another source, mentions that the traditional origin of the name was in circumstance of a Norman knight having at the Battle of Hastings succoured (helped) duke William of Normandy and given him air when he was in danger of suffocation. 
"The Eyres appear as witnesses to charters in the Peak of Derbyshire in the remotest period to which private charters ascend. The first of the name known is William le Eyre, of Hope, in the reign of Henry III." 
The chapel in Great Longstone, Derbyshire contains monuments to the "family of Eyre, earls of Newburgh." 
Early History of the Ayer family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ayer research. Another 112 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1216, 1582, 1657, 1635, 1628, 1678, 1659, 1678, 1635, 1695, 1660, 1661, 1689, 1638, 1698, 1666, 1735, 1680, 1700, 1689, 1693, 1638, 1712, 1665, 1715, 1698, 1701, 1705, 1715, 1670, 1715, 1729, 1585, 1661, 1662 and 1768 are included under the topic Early Ayer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Ayer Spelling Variations
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Ayer family name include Eyre, Eyer, Eyers, Eayres, Eyres, Ayer, Ayers,Heyer, Ayr, Air, Aires, Hyer, Hayer, Hoyer and many more.
Early Notables of the Ayer family (pre 1700)
Notables of the family at this time include John Ayer (1582-1657), an English settler to Massachusetts sailing aboard the ship James in 1635, settling in Ipswich, Haverhill, and Salisbury, born in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Henry Eyre (1628-1678), was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1659 and 1678; Sir Giles Eyre (c. 1635-1695), was an English politician and judge, Member of Parliament for Downton (1660-1661), and Salisbury in 1689.
Sir Samuel Eyre (1638-1698), was an English judge; and his son, Sir Robert Eyre (1666-1735), an English lawyer, Solicitor-General and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.
John Ayres ( fl. 1680-1700)...
Another 162 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ayer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Ayer family to Ireland
Some of the Ayer family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 119 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Ayer migration to the United States +
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Ayer surname or a spelling variation of the name include :
Ayer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- John Ayer, who was on record in Massachusetts in 1635
- Simon Ayer, his wife Dorothy and their eight children, who all settled in Massachusetts in 1635
- John Ayer, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1640
- Henry Ayer, who immigrated to Rhode Island in 1655
- Peter Ayer, who settled in New England in 1666
Contemporary Notables of the name Ayer (post 1700) +
- Nathaniel Davis Ayer (1887-1952), American (British born) composer of popular music
- David Ayer (b. 1968), American screenwriter
- Fred M. Ayer, American Republican politician, Member of Alaska Territorial Senate 2nd District, 1923-26 
- Francis B. Ayer, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Hampshire, 1868 
- F Wayland Ayer, American Republican politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for New Jersey, 1912 
- Edward Perkins Ayer (1862-1935), American Republican politician, Minister; Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Easton, 1902 
- Donald B. Ayer (b. 1949), American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, 1981-86 
- David Andrew Ayer (b. 1953), American Republican politician, Mechanic; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Vermont, 2004 
- Daniel Ayer, American politician, Representative from New York 17th District, 1876 
- B. Frederick Ayer, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Maine, 1960 
- ... (Another 15 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Related Stories +
The Ayer Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Virtus sola invicta
Motto Translation: Virtue alone is invincible.
- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html