Ayray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Ayray arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Ayray 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 Ayray family
The surname Ayray 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 Ayray family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ayray 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 Ayray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Ayray Spelling Variations
A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Airey, Airy, Airie, Arey, Array, Aireys, Aries, Areys and many more.
Early Notables of the Ayray family (pre 1700)
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ayray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Ayray family to Ireland
Some of the Ayray 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 Ayray family
Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Ayray or a variant listed above: Henry Airey, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1856; Robert Airy settled in Boston, in 1765.
Related Stories +
The Ayray 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)