Killay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Killay is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived in Keele, a village and civil parish in northern Staffordshire, or in East Keal or West Keal in Lincolnshire.  The surname Killay belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.
"Keel and Keirl are Somersetshire names, the Keirls being at home in the Bridgewater district. Amongst those who took up the cause of their religion in the Monmouth rebellion of 1685 were John and George Keele of Chilton, who were transported to Barbados, the first named not surviving the voyage." 
Early Origins of the Killay family
The surname Killay was first found in Lincolnshire where early records reveal that Robert de Kele was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273.  The same rolls list William de Kele in the same shire. 
As far as the origin of the place name Keele is concerned, we must look to the village and parish in Staffordshire where the name was derived from the Old English words "cy" + "hyll," and literally meant "hill where cows graze." The first listing of the place name was found in 1169 when is was listed as Kiel. 
Richard Kele was listed in the Feet of Fines for Yorkshire in 1246; John de Keel in the Subsidy Rolls for Staffordshire in 1332 and Robert Keell was in Nottinghamshire in 1481. 
More often than not, in Scotland, the family spelt their name Keill and or Kyill. "John Keill, chirurgian in Dundee, 1615, Thomas Kyill, burgess of Dundee, 1624, and David Keill in record in Haughmuer, 1774,"  are but a few examples.
Keele Hall is a 19th-century mansion house at Keele, Staffordshire and the eponym of Keele University, officially known as the University of Keele, a public research university near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.
Early History of the Killay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Killay research. Another 47 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1562, 1671, 1721, 1671, 1673, 1719, 1703 and 1719 are included under the topic Early Killay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Killay Spelling Variations
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Killay family name include Keele, Keel, Keal, Keale and others.
Early Notables of the Killay family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include Thomas Keele, a Member of Parliament for Wycombe in 1562
John Keill (1671-1721), was a Scottish mathematician and important disciple of Isaac Newton, born at Edinburgh on 1 Dec. 1671.
His younger brother, James Keill (1673-1719), was a Scottish physician, philosopher, medical writer and translator. " He was educated partly at home, partly on the continent. He applied himself especially to anatomy, and coming to England acquired much reputation by lecturing on that subject at Oxford...
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Killay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Killay family
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Killay surname or a spelling variation of the name include: George Keel settled in Barbados in 1685; David and Peter Keel settled in Philadelphia in 1724; Edward Keele settled in New England in 1635; John Keele settled in Barbados in 1685.
- Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
- Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- 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)