Show ContentsKeaye History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Keaye is derived from the Breton and Old Welsh word "Cai," and the Cornish word "Key," both of which meant "wharf." This name became the Middle English given name Kay. Some instances of this surname are no doubt derived from the Old English "Coeg," which meant "key." [1]

Early Origins of the Keaye family

The surname Keaye was first found in the Pipe Rolls for Northumbria where Britius filius Kay is listed there in 1199. Cecilia de Kay was in the Pipe Rolls for Gloucestershire in that same year. Another early record in the Pipe Rolls is of John del Cay in 1207 in London. John del Cai was Sheriff of London in 1201 and may be the same person as the aforementioned Pipe Roll entry. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list a Jordan Kay but the Yorkshire Poll Tax records of 1379 has the most entries of the time: Robertus Cay; Alanus Kay; Johanna Caa; and Willelmus Ka. [3]

One reference claims a more romantic origin of the name: "the family of Kaye is of great antiquity in the county of York, being descended from Sir Kaye, an ancient Briton, and one of the Knights of the warlike Table of that noble Prince Arthur, flower of chivalry!!" [4]

"The property [of Thornton in Craven in the West Riding of Yorkshire] belongs to various families, the principal owner being Sir John Lister Kaye, Bart., lord of the several manors." [5]

"Kay or Kaye is the name of an ancient and distinguished family of Woodsome in the West Riding [of Yorkshire], one of whose members received a baronetcy from Charles I. The Kayes are now best represented in the Huddersfield district of the West Riding, whilst the Kays are more numerous in Lancashire. As far back as the 13th century we find this name, both as Kay and Kaye, in Lincolnshire, Hunts, and Cambridgeshire. [6]

Early History of the Keaye family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keaye research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1372, 1219, 1246, 1480, 1480, 1506, 1510, 1573, 1510, 1572 and 1640 are included under the topic Early Keaye History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keaye Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Kay, Kaye and others.

Early Notables of the Keaye family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Caius or Kay sometimes called the Elder (fl. 1480), an English poet and author of an English poem relating the history of the siege of Rhodes unsuccessfully undertaken by Mahommed II in 1480. His book "was printed in London in 1506, but has no printer's name, and although some of the type resembles that used by Caxton." [7] John Caius (1510-1573), "occasionally referred to as John Caius, junior, in order to distinguish him from another John Caius [q. v.] who was poet laureate to Edward IV, was an eminent scholar and physician of...
Another 102 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keaye Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Keaye family to Ireland

Some of the Keaye family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 37 words (3 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 Keaye family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: James Kay, who arrived in Virginia in 1677; Jonathan Kay, a Minister, who arrived in Maryland in 1711; Edward Kaye, who received a land grant in Virginia in 1724.

  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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)
  4. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  7. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook