Ellaray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Ellaray is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Ellaray comes from the medieval given name Hillary, which was originally derived from the Latin personal name Hilarius, which means cheerful glad, happy and joyful.

"Fr Hilaire, Hilari, Lat hilaris ‘cheerful’, the name of several saints, in particular St Hilarius of Poitiers (d. 368). The name was popular in France and not uncommon in England." [1]

Early Origins of the Ellaray family

The surname Ellaray was first found in Worcester where the first record of the name was in Latin and as a forename: Hilarius Brunus who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1177. Following this, we found Richard Ilarie in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1227 and later, Willelmus Hillar (Ylarius) in the Pipe Rolls for Worcester in 1230. Rober and William Hillari were listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1275 in Lincolnshire and the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1283. [1]

Hilary (fl. 1125), was a medieval Latin poet, who "is supposed to have been a native of England from the fact that one of his poems narrates the life of Eva, an English recluse, who died in Anjou, as well as from various allusions in other of his poems, some of which are addressed to English friends." [2]

Hilary (d. 1169) was Bishop of Chichester, nominated to the bishopric in 1146, and consecrated by Archbishop Theobald at Canterbury 3 August 1147. "On the deposition of William, Archbishop of York, in the same year, the majority of the chapter chose Hilary, but Pope Eugenius III preferred Henry Murdac, the candidate of the minority. Hilary seems to have gone to France at this time, and to have endeavoured to defend King Stephen before the pope." [2]

Early History of the Ellaray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ellaray research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1206, 1763, 1722, 1734, 1752, 1758 and 1763 are included under the topic Early Ellaray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ellaray Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Hillary, Hillery and others.

Early Notables of the Ellaray family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Hillary (d. 1763), an English physician, "was a pupil of Boerhaave at Leyden, where he graduated M.D. in 1722, writing a dissertation on...
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ellaray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Ellaray family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Ellaray or a variant listed above: Susan Hillery, who settled in Virginia in 1653; Nicholas Hillary, who settled in Nevis in 1654; William Hillary, who settled in Virginia in 1654; John Hillary, who settled in Charles Town in 1767.



  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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