Tays History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Tays family first reached the shores of England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Their name is derived from the Old French given name Tieis. Early records typically had the name in the Latin form: Teutonicus.

This name more often than not, is usually seen in ancient records in what one would presume to be the plural form, as in Teys. However this is not the case. "This was a baronial name. The family of Teutonicus, or Tyes, is frequently mentioned both in Normandy and England, and may possibly have descended from Baldric Teutonicus, ancestor of the Courcys and Nevills." [1]

Early Origins of the Tays family

The surname Tays was first found in Yorkshire where "at a very small distance from the field of battle of Towton stands the antique and diminutive chapel of Leod, or Lede, which seems to have been domestic to the adjoining manor house. This was one of the seats of the ancient family of Tyas, styling themselves in Latin Teutonicus, five of whose tombs still remain in the chapel, which, as I recollect, is little more than eighteen feet long within. The inscriptions, in Longobardic characters, are partly visible. This family De Tyas appear to have been magnificent persons. Sir Baldwin Teutonicus is styled nobilis miles, and a lady, probably his wife, nobilis faemina." [2]

"The name was by no means confined to Yorkshire. There was a Waleran Teutonicus, who, in the time of Henry III., had the custody of the Isle of Wight during the minority of Earl Baldwin. Roger de Teie occurs in Oxfordshire 1194-98 (Curia Regis Rolls). Sir Walter de Teys in 1316 held Bromham in Bedfordshire, and Nunnington, in Yorkshire. He was summoned to parliament at Northampton in 1307, and again the following year for the King's coronation." [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Warin Toy, Cambridgeshire; and A. Wydo Toye, Suffolk. Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire listed Johannes Toye; and Willelmus Toye as holding lands there at that time. [3]

In Essex, the Feet of Fines included Walter de Teye in 1294. [4] Here the family gave their name to Great Tey, Little Tey and in part to Marks Tey. Collectively dating back to Saxon times when they were known c. 950 as Tygan, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 the parish was known as Teia. [5] The latter, Tey Marks "takes the present adjunct to its name from the family of Marks, or Merks, to whom it anciently belonged." [6]

"Sir Henry Tyes, who held lands in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Wiltshire, was a Baron by writ in 13 13. He served Edward II. in his Scottish wars; but, in 1322, taking part with the Earl of Lancaster, he was in arms against the King, attacked and burnt Bridgenorth, and 'was one of the traitors that assisted in taking the town of Gloucester.' He was made prisoner at the battle of Boroughbridge, and hanged for treason." [2]

Early History of the Tays family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tays research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1378, 1540, 1577, 1540, 1556, 1541, 1556, 1611, 1663, 1611, 1628, 1630, 1634 and 1643 are included under the topic Early Tays History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tays Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Tey, Tay, Teyas, They, Toye, Teye and others.

Early Notables of the Tays family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Humphrey Toy, (1540-1577), English printer, born probably in London about 1540, son of Robert Toy, printer. His father (d. 1556) possibly came originally from Wales. Before 1541, he had set up a printing press at the sign of the Bell in St. Paul's Churchyard. He died in February 1556. John Toy (1611-1663), was an English author, son...
Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tays Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Tays family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Tays or a variant listed above: George Tay and his wife settled in Philadelphia in 1764; D. and S. Tay arrived in San Francisco in 1853; Catherine Teye settled in Virginia in 1651; John Tey settled in Philadelphia in 1748..


Contemporary Notables of the name Tays (post 1700) +

  • John B. Tays, American Republican politician, Postmaster at El Paso, Texas, 1879
  • Mrs. E. A. Tays, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Oklahoma, 1944


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  6. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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