Recorded as Hay, Hayes, Hays, Hey and Heys, this interesting surname is an Anglo-Scottish surname, with two distinct origins, applying to both. The first of these was a topographical name for someone who lived in or by an enclosure, from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'haeg', or the Middle English 'heye'. After the Norman Conquest the word became confused with 'hay' meaning 'forest fenced off for hunting', or locational denoting someone who came from any of the various places called 'Hay' or 'Hayes' or even compounds of these. The second possible origin was a nickname for a tall man, from the Middle English 'hey' meaning tall or high. 'He was a strong man and hey', circa 1300. Alfred Heys was christened on September 8th 1644 at St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney, whilst Richard Hey (1745 - 1835) was educated at Cambridge and did not waste his time publishing works on the useful pursuits of gaming, duelling and suicide! The family motto is 'Invinctus Maneo', which means 'I remain unconquered', and the first recorded spelling of the family name is that of William de Haya. This was dated 1160, when he was a charter witness, during the reign of King Malcolm IV of Scotland, 1153 -1165. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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