Pillay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Pillay surname is generally thought to be habitational name from either the place name Pillay, in southern Yorkshire; or Pilley in Hampshire. These place names are both thought to derive from the Old English word "pil" or "pile," meaning a "post," and "leah," which refers to a clearing in the woods.

Early Origins of the Pillay family

The surname Pillay was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Pilley. The Norman influence of English history dominated after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. The family name was first referenced in the 13th century when they held estates in that shire near Sheffield.

Important Dates for the Pillay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pillay research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1380, 1455, and 1487 are included under the topic Early Pillay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pillay Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Pilley, Pillet, Pilly, Pillay and others.

Early Notables of the Pillay family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Pillay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Pillay family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: John Pilley, who arrived in America in 1734; Thomas Pilley, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1834; Mark Pilley, who arrived in Nebraska in 1871; and Harry Pilley, who came to Canada in 1894..

Contemporary Notables of the name Pillay (post 1700)

  • Professor Gerald John Pillay FRSA, DL (b. 1953), South African Vice Chancellor & Rector of Liverpool Hope University
  • Geraldine Pillay (b. 1977), South African sprinter
  • Patrick Georges Pillay, Seychellois politician, former Minister of External Affairs of the Seychelles and Minister of Health
  • Michael Pillay (b. 1955), Seychellois former boxer and a founding member of the Seychelles Olympians Association
  • Barbara Lynne Pillay (b. 1950), New Zealand politician, Member of the New Zealand Parliament for Waitakere (2002-2008)
  • Navanethem "Navi" Pillay (b. 1941), South African jurist, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014)

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