Awray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Awray is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Awray family lived in the Castle of Airey, or Arey in Normandy. The earliest record of the name was in 1198 of Goisbert de Arreio in Normandy. In England, the family settled mostly in the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland (now part of Cumbria) having derived from the word eyrara which means gravel-banked stream. 
Another source notes "this Cumberland family consider the name to have been borrowed from some elevated dwelling among the mountains called an Eyrie, such designations for residences not being uncommon." 
Early Origins of the Awray family
The surname Awray was first found in the northern English counties of Cumberland and Westmorland where they held a family seat from very ancient times, probably long before the Norman Conquest of England by the Duke of Normandy in 1066 A.D.
Early records for the family are very scarce. The only entry we found was of Robert de Hayra who was listed in 1301 as holding lands in Lancashire at that time. 
Christopher Airay (1601-1670), the pioneer of English logic and Henry Airay (c. 1560-1616), the Puritan divine and author both hail from Westmorland. 
Early History of the Awray family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Awray research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1301, 1332, 1611, 1833, 1911, 1600 and 1655 are included under the topic Early Awray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Awray Spelling Variations
Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Airey, Airy, Airie, Arey, Array, Aireys, Aries, Areys and many more.
Early Notables of the Awray family (pre 1700)
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Awray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Awray family to Ireland
Some of the Awray family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Awray family
Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Awray or a variant listed above: Henry Airey, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1856; Robert Airy settled in Boston, in 1765.
Related Stories +
The Awray 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: Je le tiendrai
Motto Translation: I will possess.
- ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)