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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Sayers is a name that came to England in the 11th century wave of migration that was set off by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Sayers family lived in Essex. Their name, however, is a reference to St. Saire, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Alternatively, the name could have been a trade name for someone who was "an assayer of metals." [1] And another variation is that it could have been "an Anglo-Norman personal name, as Saher de Quincy, the famous Earl of Winchester." [1] There are at least three other listed origins of the name, but these latter three seem the most probable.


The surname Sayers was first found in Essex where the family's first listing of the name was found during the reign of Edward II. [1] Omitting the entries as a personal name, we also found: Stephanus filius Seir (1148-1152) and ? filius Saheri (Saieri) c. 1160 in Lincolnshire. Robertus filius Seer was listed in the 12th century in Nottinghamshire and Richard Sayer was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Devon in 1230. Thomas Sare and John Sayer were listed in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1292. [2]

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Sayers has been recorded under many different variations, including Sayer, Sayers, Sayres and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sayers research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1655, 1718, 1695 and 1705 are included under the topic Early Sayers History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sayers Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Sayers family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Sayerss were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Sayers Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • James Sayers settled in Boston in 1634
  • James Sayers, who landed in New England in 1634
  • Jas Sayers, who arrived in New England in 1634

Sayers Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Frederica Sayers, aged 18, arrived in West Indies in 1812
  • Mrs. E Sayers, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855
  • Patrick Sayers settled Newcastle in Delaware in 1858

Sayers Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Robert B Sayers, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Sayers Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Francis Sayers arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Cheapside" in 1849
  • Johanna Sayers arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Caroline Agnes" in 1850
  • Emma Eng. Sayers, aged 5, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Anglia"

Sayers Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Burgess Sayers landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • George Sayers arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Asterope" in 1865
  • Julia Sayers arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Asterope" in 1865
  • Mary Ann Sayers arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Asterope" in 1865
  • Thomas Sayers arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Asterope" in 1865


  • Gale Eugene Sayers (b. 1943), nicknamed "The Kansas Comet", American former college and professional football running back, inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame
  • Joseph Draper "Joe" Sayers (1841-1929), American politician, 22nd Governor of Texas from 1899 to 1903
  • Private First Class Foster J. Sayers (1924-1944), American soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Tom Sayers (1826-1865), English bare-knuckle prize fighter who had 12 wins, 1 loss and 3 draws
  • James Sayers (1748-1823), English caricaturist
  • Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), English crime writer, poet, playwright, essayist, and translator
  • Andrew George Sayers AM (1957-2015), Australian curator and painter, the first director of Australia's National Portrait Gallery from 1998 to 2010
  • Mr. Mark Sayers, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Bernard "Ben" Sayers (1856-1924), Scottish early professional golfer, golf teacher, golf course designer and manufacturer of golf clubs and equipment
  • Alan John Sayers MNZM (b. 1916), New Zealand track and field bronze medalist athlete at the 1938 British Empire Games



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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)

Other References

  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  3. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  7. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  8. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  11. ...

The Sayers Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sayers 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 15 October 2015 at 12:29.

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