This famous surname is of early French origins, although equally popular in England. Recorded in such diverse spellings as Eloy, Eloi (France), Loy, Elloy, Elley, Gloy, Gley and Ley (England), the derivation is from the pre 7th century Latin "eligius" meaning to choose. The name achieved its initial popularity through St Eligius, the bishop of Noyon, who lived from 588 to 660 a.d. He originally trained as a goldsmith, and founded monasteries at Noyon, Paris and Solgnac. His principle emblem being a horseshoe, he is now regarded as the patron saint of goldsmiths, farriers and smiths. In England only one church was dedicated to him, this being at Shorthampton, Oxfordshire, but in Picardy and Flanders his influence is still widespread. The modern surname is medieval, or after the 12th century, and derived from the baptismal names Eloy or Eloi, the short forms or nicknames from Elgius. The recordings from France are much later than in England. This is because many early registers were destroyed during the French Revolution (1789 - 1797. Examples of the surname taken from surviving records include Roberte Loy, a witness at St Vedest church, Foster Lane, London, on Christmas Day 1564, and Dorothie Loyes, christened at St James church, Clerkenwell on June 25th 1566. In France Gilles Eloy or Eloi, was a witness at Conde-sur-L'estcaut, department de Nord, on November 15th 1614, as was Francois Eloy at the same place on September 22nd 1637. The first recording of the family name may well be that of Gilbert Elye of the county of Kent, England, in the charters known as "The Hundred Rolls", for the year 1273. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307.
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