Foicay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought much change to the island nation, including many immigrants with new names. Among these immigrants were the ancestors of the Foicay family, who lived in Northampton. The name, however, derives from the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Vassy, Normandy. One of the first records of the name was Robertus Invesiatus, Lascivus which appeared in the Domesday Book [1] in Essex [2]. Other records show the name was originally De Vesci, which was a baronial name, a branch of the De Burgh family. [3]

Eustace de Vescy or Vesci, Baron Vesci (1170?-1216), "son of William de Vesci and Burga de Stuteville, paid his relief on coming of age in 2 Richard I (1191-1192). He was with the king in Palestine in 1195. John de Vescy (d. 1289) was eldest son of William de Vescy (d. 1253), and elder brother of William de Vescy. In 1253, on the death of his father in Gascony, he succeeded to the family estates. These included the barony of Alnwick and a large property in Northumberland." [4]

Early Origins of the Foicay family

The surname Foicay was first found in Northampton where Robert de Vassy (Veci) and his brother Ivo were granted nineteen Lordships in that county and overlapping into Warwick, Lincoln, and Leicester, by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

"The 'Sires de Waacie,' spoken of by Wace at the battle of Hastings, were Robert, who in 1086 held a great barony in Northants, Warwick, Lincoln, and Leicester; and Ivo, who does not appear even as a mesne-lord in Domesday. Yet we hear nothing more either of Robert or his possessions, and the whole history of the family centres on Ivo, and Ivo's posterity." [5]

Ivo (John) won the hand of Alda, daughter of Gilbert, Lord of Alnwick in Northumberland and the family claim considerable prominence as the Lords of Vesey from which Lords Fitzgerald and Vesei claim descent.

Further to the south in Tamerton, Cornwall, "Vacye was for some time the seat of a family of this name; but it is at present the property and residence of George Call, Esq. The church of Tamerton contains several memorials for the family of Vacye." [6]

Early History of the Foicay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Foicay research. Another 204 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1313, 1500, 1589, 1661, 1462, 1554, 1470, 1674 and 1746 are included under the topic Early Foicay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Foicay Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Foicay were recorded, including Feasey, Feasy, Fessey, Fassey, Fessys, Fressis, Veasey, Vassey, Vassy, Vesci, Vezey, Vezay, Vesey, Vessey and many more.

Early Notables of the Foicay family (pre 1700)

Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Foicay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Foicay family to Ireland

Some of the Foicay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Foicay family

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Foicay arrived in North America very early: Andrew Veasey settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1876; William Veazie settled in Massachusetts in 1640; Nathaniel Feazey settled in Somers Islands in 1662.



The Foicay 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: Sub hoc signo vinces
Motto Translation: Under this sign we shall conquer.


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  6. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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