Ayry History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Ayry is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Ayry 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. [1]

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." [2]

Early Origins of the Ayry family

The surname Ayry 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. [3]

Christopher Airay (1601-1670), the pioneer of English logic and Henry Airay (c. 1560-1616), the Puritan divine and author both hail from Westmorland. [4]

Early History of the Ayry family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ayry 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 Ayry History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ayry Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Ayry include Airey, Airy, Airie, Arey, Array, Aireys, Aries, Areys and many more.

Early Notables of the Ayry family (pre 1700)

Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ayry Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Ayry family to Ireland

Some of the Ayry 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 Ayry family

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Ayrys to arrive on North American shores: Henry Airey, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1856; Robert Airy settled in Boston, in 1765.



The Ayry 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.


  1. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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