This interesting name is of Old Norse origin, dating from the 8th and 9th Centuries, when much of northern and north-western England was invaded and subsequently settled by Scandinavians. Wray and its variant forms, found mainly as Wra and Wroe, is a locational surname, deriving from any of the places in Lancashire and Cumberland named with the Old Norse "vra", nook, corner, recess, used in placenames to denote a remote valley or isolated place. The places in Lancashire named with this element are Wray, High Wray, Wrayton, and Wrea, all mostly recorded in the 13th Century as "Wra", while in Cumberland there is the place called Wreay, and a place near Carlisle formerly named "peterelwra" (1286), from the river Petteril.Some bearers of the modern surname may derive their name from a topographical use, denoting residence in such a remote and isolated place. One Ralph in le Wra is recorded in Yorkshire in 1260. William Wray and Lucye Montagewe were married in London on April 6th 1580. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Tomas de Wra, which was dated 1196, The Yorkshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard 1, "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199, Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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