This interesting surname has a number of possible origins. Firstly it may derive from the Old French "foi" or Latin "fides" meaning faith, and would have originated as a nickname for either a pious person or for someone who frequently used this term in oaths. It may also be metronymic from the medieval female given name Foy (Faith), one of the earliest known namebearers being Saint Foy, who was martyred in 303. St. Faith's Chapel in Westminster Abbey still shows an interesting wall-painting of its patron, one of the oldest paintings in the country.It is also a variant of the Irish surname Fee, an Anglicized form of "O'Fiaich", deriving from "fiach" a raven. In Ireland Foy is chiefly found in Cavan and north Connacht. The name is first recorded in the latter half of the 14th Century, (see below). On November 24th 1583, Sarah Foy married Harry Reed, at Allhallows in the Wall , while Henrye, son of John Foye was christened on May 27th, 1608 at St. Thomas the Apostle, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Magota Foy, which was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax Returns for Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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