This is a Scottish and an English name, with two distinct origins applying to both. The first of these is as a topographic name for someone who lived in or by an enclosure, from the Olde English pre 7th century 'haeg', Middle English 'hey(e)'. After the Norman Conquest the word became confused with 'hay' meaning 'forest fenced off for hunting' or 'hedge'. Later, the surname became locational denoting someone who came from any of the various places called 'Hay' or 'Hayes' or compounds of these. The second possible origin is from the nickname for a tall man, from the Middle English 'hay' or 'hey' meaning tall or high.'He was a strong man and hey', c. 1300. The William de Haya mentioned below is recorded as being 'Pincerna' or cup-bearer to the King and obtained the lands of Errol in Gowrie from William the Lion c. 1178-1182. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Haya. which was dated c. 1160 Charter Witness. during the reign of Malcolm IV of Scotland, 1153-1165 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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