Foice History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Today's generation of the Foice family bears a name that was brought to England by the migration wave that was started by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Foice family 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 Foice family

The surname Foice 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 Foice family

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

Foice 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 Foice include Feasey, Feasy, Fessey, Fassey, Fessys, Fressis, Veasey, Vassey, Vassy, Vesci, Vezey, Vezay, Vesey, Vessey and many more.

Early Notables of the Foice family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Foice family to Ireland

Some of the Foice 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.


United States Foice migration to the United States +

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 Foices to arrive on North American shores:

Foice Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Foice, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [7]


The Foice 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
  7. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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