Say History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Say is a name that was brought to England by the ancestors of the Say family when they migrated to the region after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Say family lived in Shropshire. "Cil de Saie," mentioned by Wace in his account of the Battle of Hastings, took his name from the vill of Saium or Say, about nine miles to the west of Exmes, the caput of Roger de Montgomeri's Norman Viscountcy, and held under Roger in Normandy, as he afterwards did in England. He is known as Picot de Say.

Within thirty years of Domesday, Theodoric de Say, a cadet of the Barons of Clun, was enfeoffed by Roger de Lacy of Stoke, afterwards called Stokesay. One of his descendants, Hugh II., was possessed of Moreton Say as early as 1243, and about 1250 exchanged Stokesay with his suzerain, John de Verdon, for some property in Ireland, where he took up his abode. Robert de Say held Moreton Say in 1255, and, with William de Say, had summons to attend a great Council at Westminster. Roger de Say, in 1203, was a tenant of Robert de Buller's at Hope Bowdler and Amaston and left Lucia and Amice his co-heirs. Then we have Eustachia de Say, co-foundress of Westwood in Worcestershire, who, in the time of Henry I., married Hugh Fitz Osborn, Baron of Burford and Richard's Castle, "Most accounts," says Eyton, "would induce us to associate her with the Barons of Clun or the Lords of Stokesay. [1]

Early Origins of the Say family

The surname Say was first found in Shropshire but the first record of the name was Geoffrey de Saye, Lord of West Greenwich (1135-1214.) His son, Geoffrey de Saye, II (died 1230), Lord of West Greenwich was born in 1155 in West Greenwich, Kent and died in Gascoigne, Poitou, France. His son was Geoffrey de Saye (1155-1230), was an English nobleman, and Magna Carta surety who held lands at Edmonton (now part of London) and Sawbridgeworth (a small town and civil parish in Hertfordshire.) [2]

"Picot de Say was, in the time of the Conqueror, one of the principal persons in the county of Salop, under Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, and founded the distinguished Baronial House of Say, from which derives, through female descent, the Lord Saye and Sele." [3]

Geoffrey de Say, Baron de Say (ca. 1305-1359), was the second Baron by writ and a descendant of William de Say. [4]

Stratfield Saye is a village and civil parish in Hampshire that includes the hamlets of West End Green, Fair Oak Green and Fair Cross. [5]

Early History of the Say family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Say research. Another 106 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1214, 1478, 1468, 1420, 1404, 1382, 1604, 1685, 1649, 1661, 1681, 1691, 1653, 1691, 1664, 1666, 1676, 1743, 1632, 1692, 1656, 1604 and 1665 are included under the topic Early Say History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Say Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Say have been found, including Say, Saye, Sais and others.

Early Notables of the Say family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Say (d. 1478), Speaker of the House of Commons, is doubtfully said to have been the son of John Heron (d. 1468), son of Sir John Heron (d. 1420), nephew and heir of Sir William Heron (d. 1404). The last-named was styled Lord Say in right of his wife Elizabeth, sister and heir of John de Say, Baron Say (d. 1382.) [4] Evan Seys (1604-1685), was a Welsh lawyer from Swansea, Glamorgan, Attorney General under Oliver Cromwell, Recorder of Gloucester in 1649, Member of Parliament for Gloucester (1661-1681); and Robert Say D.D...
Another 116 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Say Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Say Ranking

In the United States, the name Say is the 15,359th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]


United States Say migration to the United States +

For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Say were among those contributors:

Say Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Say, who arrived in Virginia in 1639 [7]
  • Hugh and Jane Say, who settled in Virginia in 1650
  • Hugh Say, who arrived in Virginia in 1650 [7]
  • Jane Say, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [7]
  • Thomas Say, who settled in New England in 1663
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Say Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Kath Say, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [7]
  • Johan Mar Say, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743 [7]
Say Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Say, aged 30, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1852 [7]

Australia Say migration to Australia +

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

Say Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Say, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [8]
  • James Say, English convict from Wiltshire, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [8]
  • Mr. John Say, (b. 1818), aged 27, English convict who was convicted in Wells, Somerset, England for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Equestrian" on 30th June 1845, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [9]

West Indies Say migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [10]
Say Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • George Say who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Geo Say, aged 26, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Say (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Say (1787-1834), American naturalist and entomologist
  • William Say (1768-1834), English engraver, son of William Say, a Norfolk land-steward, born at Lakenham, near Norwich
  • Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832), French economist
  • Richard Say, Bishop of Rochester


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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 Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 155 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1822
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th May 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/equestrian
  10. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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