Jeay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Jeay is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Jeay family lived in Herefordshire. Their name, however, derives from the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, De Gai, Normandy. [1]

Others sources claim the name is a nickname for ' the jay,' a chatterer, a smartly dressed person. [2] [3] [4]

Early Origins of the Jeay family

The surname Jeay was first found in Herefordshire at Heath, with Jay, a township, in the parish of Leintwardine, union of Ludlow, hundred of Wigmore. [5] This small township had only 55 inhabitants in the late 1800s and comprises the hamlets of Heath and Jay. [6] [7]

One of the first records of the family was Gilber Jai (Gai) who was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1202. A few years later, Tandy de Jay was listed in the Assize Rolls for Shropshire in 1221 and Walter le Jay was found in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1225. [8]

In Somerset, William le Jay was listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [9]

"Brian de Jay was the last Master of the English Knights Templars. He was the only Englishman of note slain at the battle of Falkirk in 1298 and his fellow Master of the Order in Scotland, fighting along with Jay, was also killed." [10]

Early History of the Jeay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jeay research. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1511, 1630, 1722, 1495, 1553, 1530, 1534, 1529, 1697, 1790, 1697, 1734, 1699 and 1553 are included under the topic Early Jeay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jeay 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 Jay, Jaye, Jayes and others.

Early Notables of the Jeay family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was George Joye (also Joy and Jaye) (c. 1495 - 1553), a 16th-century Bible translator who produced the first printed translation of several books of the Old Testament into English (1530-1534), as well as the first English Primer (1529). Francis Joy (1697?-1790), was a printer, papermaker, and journalist, born at Belfast about 1697. "His family claims descent from Captain Thomas Joy, a follower of Arthur Chichester, Lord Chichester of Belfast. Francis Joy is said to have been originally a tailor; but the authority for this statement adds, with manifest exaggeration, that on setting up as...
Another 132 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Jeay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Jeay family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. 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 Jeay or a variant listed above: Thomas Jay settled in Virginia in 1635; William Jay settled in Barbados in 1663; Thomas Jay settled in Barbados in 1654.



  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  4. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  7. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  8. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  9. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  10. ^ 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


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