Recorded in several spellings including Darie, Darrye, Darry, Darey, Dary, and Derry, this is an English surname, but of Norman-French origins. As a surname it was a medieval nickname of endearment for a small person, the derivation being from the pre 10th century French word 'daree' meaning a penny weight. Just how the word came to be applied as a nickname is unclear, but the 12th century, when French was the spoken language of much of educated England, was also the time when both surnames and nicknames were begining to be introduced. Certainly this is one of the earliest of all such names with William Darree being recorded in the charters known as 'Curia Regis' for the county of Northamptonshire in the year 1200. This was in the first year of the reign of the rather infamous King John of Enngland, who certainly had a bad press. He was desperately raising taxes to pay for the 'crusading excesses' of his brother, the late Richard, Coeur de Lyon', who had died whilst trying to 'free' the Holy Land from the Muslims the previous year. Later examples of the surname taken from authentic rolls and registers of this medieval period include: Nicholas Darre of Suffolk in1268, and John Dary, also of Suffolk in the 'Hundred Rolls' of the year 1327.
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