Heeray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Soon after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the name Heeray was recognized on the island as a name for a person who was long legged or of tall stature. The name Heeray is derived from the Old English word heiroun, which meant heron.
Alternatively, the name originated in Heron, near Rouen in Normandy and some of the family arrived with William the Conqueror. "Tihel de Herioun was of Essex, 1086.  Odenel Heron, temp. William Rufus (third son of William the Conqueror), witnessed a charter in Durham. " 
Early Origins of the Heeray family
The surname Heeray was first found in Northumberland at Thornton, a township, in the parish of Norham, union of Berwick-upon-Tweed. "This place was the manor and residence of a family named Heron." 
"Sir John Hairun entered England with the Conqueror, and was possessed of Ford Castle, and a very good estate. There is a commune in the arrondissement of Rouen called Le Heron, but it does not appear whether this was the cradle of the race." 
"From this adventurer sprang the warlike race of Heron, so celebrated in Border feud and Border minstrelsy. In 1100, they possessed by grant from Henry I., the Barony of Heron in Northumberland, and in 1166, exactly a century after their Norman ancestor set foot in England, Jordan Hairun is named in the Liber niger Scuccarii, amongst the knights then enjoying great estates in the north. In the reign of henry III., the marriage of William Heriun, Governor of Bamborough Castle, with the daughter and heir of Odonel de Ford, transplanted the family to the lands of her inheritance and there - at Ford Castle - they continued in high repute for several generations, William Heron of Ford being summoned to parliament as a Baron in 1371. " 
Exploring the parish of Ford, Northumberland more we found this entry: "On the western side of the village is Ford Castle, erected in 1287 by Sir William Heron, and rebuilt by the late Lord Delaval; two towers, the remains of the former castle, are retained in the present structure. The castle was demolished by the Scots in 1385." 
Further to the north in Scotland, "the old family of Heron in the Stewertry claim descent from the Herons of Chipchase who appear in Northumberland in the eleventh century. " 
The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 include: Ricardus Herun; Emma Herun; and Agnes Herun. 
We did find this interesting anecdote: "Sir William Heron, Sheriff of Northumberland 17 Hen. VIII., was the father of the beautiful Elizabeth, who detained James IV. at Ford, so as to give the Earl of Surrey time and opportunity for advancing towards the Borders with a large army: From its strong position, commanding the bridge over the river Till, the castle had been a constant bone of contention between the English and Scots; and was entirely demolished by the latter in 1385: but its most memorable capture was by King James in 1513, for it thus became for ever associated with 'the tale of Flodden, that is written in blood on every Scottish heart.'" 
Early History of the Heeray family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heeray research. Another 261 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1178, 1292, 1321, 1330, 1329, 1526, 1505, 1607, 1680, 1734, 1688, 1565, 1585, 1565, 1795, 1865 and are included under the topic Early Heeray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Heeray Spelling Variations
Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Herron, Heron and others.
Early Notables of the Heeray family (pre 1700)
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Heeray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Heeray family to Ireland
Some of the Heeray family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 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 Heeray family
Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Heeray or a variant listed above: John Heron, who settled in Barbados in 1635; Patrick Herron, who settled in Boston in 1651; Alexander Herron, who settled in Georgia in 1738 with his wife and daughter.
Related Stories +
The Heeray 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: Nil desperandum
Motto Translation: Never despairing.
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)