In the British Isles this surname is recorded as Le Roy, Leroy, Leroi, Le Roi, and Roy. It has at least two possible national origins. Firstly it may be Norman-French and introduced after the famous Conquest of 1066. The derivation is from the word rey or roi, meaning a king or chief, and in medieval times was used as a nickname either for one who behaved in a regal fashion, or who had earned the title in some contest of skill, or more likely had been elected "king for the day" in a local festival. It could also be used as a personal name as for example Roi de Scallebi listed in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1188. Secondly it could be of Gaelic and Scottish origins and if so a nickname for a person with red hair, from "ruadh", meaning red. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. Early examples of surname recordings include Adam le Roy in the Feet of Fines of Suffolk in 1268, and Simon Roy in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1279. Moritius Roy was witness in Perth during the reign of James 11nd of Scotland, and John Roy was sheriff of Inverness (1563). A coat of arms granted to the y family ghas the blazon of a blue shield charged with a silver lion rampant, on a silver border eight red torteaux. The Motto, "Qua tendis", translates as "Whither do you steer". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Raie. This was dated 1206, in the Pipe Rolls of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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