Lyes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Lyes is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Lyes 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 Lyes family is descended from the Norman Lyes family. The family name Lyes 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 Lyes family

The surname Lyes 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]

"The Lees of Lee, and Darnhall, co. Chester, now represented by the Townshends of Hem and Trevallyn, and the Lees of Quarendon, Bucks, of whom was the gallant Sir Henry Lee, K.G. and the Lees of Ditchley, Earls of Lichfield, whose descendant Viscount Dillon now possesses the Ditchley estate, spring from the De Lee of Battle Abbey." [4]

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." [5]

"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." [5]

Down in Devon, "a Totnes man, Sir Edmund Lye, ranks among the boldest seamen of Elizabethan days, and as one of the heroes who bore his part in the defeat of the Invincible Armada. Totnes contributed largely towards the fitting out of the Crescent and the Hart, two vessels sent from Dartmouth to join the Anti-Armada fleet. " [6]

Early History of the Lyes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lyes 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 Lyes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lyes Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Lyes are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Lyes include Leigh, Lee, Lea, Legh, Leghe, Ligh, Lighe, Leyie, Ley and many more.

Early Notables of the Lyes 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 Lyes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Lyes family to Ireland

Some of the Lyes 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.


United States Lyes migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Lyes, or a variant listed above:

Lyes Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Lyes, who landed in Virginia in 1717 [7]

Australia Lyes migration to Australia +

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

Lyes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joshua Lyes, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Success" in 1848 [8]
  • Anthony Lyes, aged 19, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1851 [9]
  • Anthony Lyes, aged 19, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Lysander" [9]

New Zealand Lyes 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:

Lyes Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Arthur Lyes, aged 18, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ballochmyle" in 1874


The Lyes 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: Force avec vertu
Motto Translation: Strength with virtue.


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lower, 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. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SUCCESS 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Success.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Lysander.htm


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