lay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

lay is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest brought to England in 1066. The lay family lived in any of the various places named Leigh in England. There are at least 16 counties that contain a place named Leigh. The place-name was originally derived from the Old English word leah, which means wood clearing. [1] The English lay family is descended from the Norman lay family. The family name lay became popular in England after the Norman Conquest, when William the Conqueror gave his friends and relatives most of the land formerly owned by Anglo-Saxon aristocrats. The Normans frequently adopted the names of their recently acquired estates in England.

Early Origins of the lay family

The surname lay was first found in Cheshire, at High Leigh, where the name is from "an eminent family, who for centuries in that county nearly all the gentry families of that name claim descent." [2]

Of note are the following ancient families: Legh of East Hall, in High Legh, county Chester, descended from Efward de Lega, who lived at or near the period of the Conquest and who appears to have a Saxon origin; Leigh of West Hall, in High Leigh, originally De Lynne who married a Legh heiress in the 13th century; and Leigh of Adlestrop (Baron Leigh) county Gloucester, descended from Agens, daughter and heiress of Richard de Legh. [3]

Leigh is a fairly common place name that dates back to pre-Conquest times as Leigh, Herefordshire and Worcestershire were both listed as Beornothesleah in 972. [1]

There are over nineteen villages that are either named Leigh or include Leigh in their name throughout Britain. The parish of Hughley in Shropshire derives "its name from Hugh de Lea, proprietor of the manor in the twelfth century, and ancestor of the Leas of Langley and Lea Hall." [4]

"The township [of Poulton with Fearnhead, Lancashire] has been the property of the Legh family, of Lyme, since their union with the Haydocks. Bruch, or Birch, the old manor-house, existing in the 12th of Charles I., was given by Sir Peter Legh to his fourth son Peter, whose grand-daughter married the grandson of Dr. Thomas Legh, the third son of Sir Peter." [4]

Important Dates for the lay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our lay research. Another 252 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1548, 1563, 1614, 1589, 1600, 1660, 1640, 1642, 1583, 1662, 1639, 1667, 1660, 1667, 1634, 1687, 1656, 1659, 1653, 1692, 1692, 1662, 1701, 1651, 1711, 1702, 1705, 1681, 1760, 1663, 1716, 1678, 1721, 1797 and are included under the topic Early lay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

lay Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Leigh, Lee, Lea, Legh, Leghe, Ligh, Lighe, Leyie, Ley and many more.

Early Notables of the lay family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Leigh of Isel, High Sheriff of Cumberland in 1548; William Lee (1563-1614), English clergyman and inventor of the first stocking frame knitting machine in 1589; Sir Richard Lee, 2nd Baronet (ca. 1600-1660), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1640 to 1642, supporter of the Royalist side in the English Civil War; John Ley (1583-1662), an English clergyman and member of the Westminster Assembly; Sir Francis Henry Lee, 4th Baronet (1639-1667), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1660 to 1667; Richard Legh (1634-1687)...
Another 125 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early lay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the lay family to Ireland

Some of the lay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

lay migration to the United States

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name lay or a variant listed above:

lay Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Lay, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1638 [5]
  • Edward Lay, who arrived in Virginia in 1657 [5]
lay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Benjamin Lay, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1731-1732 [5]
  • Christopher Lay, aged 37, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [5]
  • Georg Christoph Lay, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [5]
  • Ludwig Lay, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1736 [5]
  • Hans Lay, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1747 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
lay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Christian Lay, who landed in North America in 1847 [5]
  • John Lay, who settled in New York State in 1848
  • D Lay, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [5]
  • Rosine Lay, aged 20, who arrived in New York in 1854 [5]
  • Georg Lay, aged 26, who landed in New York in 1854 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

lay migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

lay Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Lay, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • Anna Lay, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • Barbara Lay, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • Elisabeth Lay, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • Jacob Lay, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

lay migration to Australia

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

lay Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Sarah Lay, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Florentia" in 1849 [6]
  • Mary Lay (aged 18), a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Hooghly" [7]

lay migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

lay Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Lay, British settler referred to as the Parkhurst Boys travelling from London aboard the ship "Mandarin" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th November 1843, he had been taught trades and pardoned to live in New Zealand [8]
  • Martha E. Lay, aged 18, a laundress, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Edward P Bouverie" in 1873

Contemporary Notables of the name lay (post 1700)

  • William R. Lay (1882-1934), American Republican politician, Member of Missouri State House of Representatives from Crawford County, 1919-24 [9]
  • Walter Victor Lay (1924-1983), American Democrat politician, Member of Missouri State House of Representatives from St. Louis City 11th District, 1949-54 [9]
  • Tracy Hollingsworth Lay (b. 1882), American politician, U.S. Consul in Paris, 1915-19; U.S. Consul General in Munich, 1923-25; Buenos Aires, 1926-28 [9]
  • Theodore M. Lay, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 3rd District, 1946 [9]
  • Julius Gareché Lay (1872-1939), American Republican politician, U.S. Consul General in Barcelona, 1899-1904; Canton, 1904-06; Cape Town, 1906-10; Rio de Janeiro, 1910-14; Berlin, 1916-17; Calcutta, 1926 [9]
  • John Lay, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Tennessee, 1956 [9]
  • John Henry Lay, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wisconsin, 1940 [9]
  • John Lay, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Oneida County, 1802-03, 1812-13, 1814-15 [9]
  • James A. Lay, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Missouri State House of Representatives from Benton County, 1934 [9]
  • James H. Lay, American politician, Representative from Missouri 7th District, 1874; Member of Missouri State House of Representatives from Benton County, 1875-76 [9]
  • ... (Another 31 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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Citations

  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FLORENTIA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Florentia.htm
  7. ^ South Australian Register. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Rodney 1856. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/rodney1856.shtml
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 28) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
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