This long-established surname is of early medieval English origin, and has two distinct possible origins. Firstly, Ayris may be a patronymic form of "Ayer", itself a nickname for a man who was well known to be the heir to a title or fortune, deriving from the Middle English "eir, eyr", heir (Old French "(h)eir", from the Latin "heres", heir). One Ralph le Eir was noted in the 1208 Feet of Fines for Essex, and a Richard de Heyre appears in the 1274 Hundred Rolls of Gloucestershire. The second possibility is that Ayris is a patronymic for the Middle English personal name "Aier" or "Aer", itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Ealhhere", a compound of the elements "eal(h)", old, and "heri", army.Robertus filius (son of) Aier was noted in the 1166 Red Book of the Exchequer, and a Robert Aier in the 1201 Pipe Rolls of Shropshire. Aston Eyre (Shropshire) was held in 1221 by Robert, grandson of Aer, identical with the latter (above). In the modern idiom the surname has several spelling variations, ranging from Ayers, Ayres, Ayris and Aires, to Eayrs, Eyres and Eyers. A quotation from the "History of Norfolk" (Blomefield and Parkin) reads, "This year (1510) was Thomas Ayers, priest, of Norwich, burnt at Eccles". On July 14th 1689, Eliza, daughter of Mosses and Jane Ayris, was christened at Allhallows, London Wall, London, and on June 12th 1724, the christening of Joseph, son of John Ayris, took place at Bookham, Surrey. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Ayer, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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