Abey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In the Scotland of ancient times, Abey was a name for a person who was a lay-abbot of a monastery. In the Middle Ages, this was the title held usually by the leading family of the village. [1]

Early Origins of the Abey family

The surname Abey was first found in the county of Angus, in the parish of Abbey and Brechin. The first record was of Douenaldus (Donald) Abbe of Brechin in 1178, who witnessed a charter with Turpin, Bishop of Brechin, and later he gifted the lands of Balegillegrand to the Abbey of Arbroath, which grant was confirmed by King William the Lion. "Maurice Abbe of Abireloth or Abereloth appears as witness in charters by Gilchrist, earl of Angus and of John de Mountfort between 1201 and 1214. Between 1211 and 1214 Johannes Abbe with the advice and consent of his son Morgund granted to the monks of Abirebroth (Arbroath) permission to take charcoal from 'nemore jaeo de Edale,' now Edzell. The same John Abbe and Morgund his son were present at the perambulation of the boundaries of the lands of the Abbey of Arbroath and the barony of Kynblathmond in 1219. Nicholas Abbe appears as juror on an Inquest in 1250, Simon del Abbeye, Scottish merchant, complained in 1370 of being plundered by English wreckers." [2]

As one would expect the name was scattered throughout ancient England. Ralph le Abbe was found in Devon as was William del Abbay. In Lancashire, Robert del Abbay was listed there in 1332. [3]

William filius Abi was recorded in Buckinghamshire, 1273. Willelmus Abson of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. [3] John Abbys was documented in County Norfolk in the year 1480. [4]

London records list Ralph le Abbe in the Pipe Rolls of 1177 and in Cornwall, John Abby was listed there in 1297. William del Abbay was a Freeman of York in 1283. [5]

Early History of the Abey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Abey research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1219 and 1370 are included under the topic Early Abey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Abey Spelling Variations

Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, Abey has been spelled Abbey, Aba, Abbe, Abbie, Abey, Abbeys, Aby and others.

Early Notables of the Abey family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Abey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Abey family

The hardy Scots who made the crossing settled all along the east coast of North America and in the great west that was just then opening up. At the time of the American War of Independence, many United Empire Loyalists moved north from the American colonies to Canada. Scottish national heritage became better known in North America in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic events. An examination of immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Abey arrived in North America very early: Sarah Abbey who settled in Barbados in 1679; William Abbeys settled in Virginia in 1638; Thomas Abbeys settled in Virginia in 1637; Thomas Abbe settled in Virginia in 1673.


Contemporary Notables of the name Abey (post 1700) +

  • Jemima Abey, British actress, best known for her work in the Sky One television series drama Hex (2004), Blackout (2013) and EastEnders (1985)


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)


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