An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
A Strathclyde-Briton family from the Scottish/English Borderlands was the first to use the surname Reay. It is a name for a person known as a timid or shy person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word ray, that referred to a roe or female deer.
The surname Reay was first found in Cumberland at Gill, in the parish of Bromfield which belonged to the family from the time of William the Lion, king of Scotland (died 1214.) "Tradition says, that the original Ray was a faithful adherent of the Scottish monarch, by whom he was greatly esteemed, for his extraordinary swiftness of foot in pursuing the deer and who gave him the estate. The tenure was by a pepper-com rent, with the stipulation, that the name of William should be perpetuated in the family. This was strictly observed from generation to generation, until the latter half of the last [of the 18th] century, when the Mr. William Reay in possession gave to the ' hope of the house ' the name of John. "  Thomas filius Ray witnessed confirmation by Alexander, son of Walter, of his father's gift to the church of Paisley in 1239.  While there is no doubt of the family's origin in the north of England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Reginald le Raye, in Oxfordshire; Nicholas le Ray in Suffolk; and Richard le Ray in Cambridgeshire. 
The origin of rules governing the spelling of names and even words is a very recent innovation. Before that, words and names were spelled according to sound, and, therefore, often appeared under several different spelling variations in a single document. Reay has been spelled Rae, Rea, Ree, Ray and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reay research. Another 319 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1487, 1465, 1530, 1558, 1350, 1612, 1376, 1627, 1705 and are included under the topic Early Reay History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Reay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Reay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
The persecution faced in their homeland left many Scots with little to do but sail for the colonies of North America. There they found land, freedom, opportunity, and nations in the making. They fought for their freedom in the American War of Independence, or traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In both cases, they made enormous contributions to the formation of those great nations. Among them:
Reay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Reay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Reay Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
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: In omnia promptus
Motto Translation: Ready for everything.
The Reay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Reay Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 8 March 2016 at 00:16.