This is an English topographical surname. Recorded in various spellings including Morey, Morry, and Moorhay, the name originates from the Olde English pre 6th Century words "mor" meaning a marsh or swamp and "leah" describing a fenced enclosure or farm, a place suitable for agriculture, to give the farm by the marsh or similar. The surname is first recorded in the medieval period, and seems from earliest times to be associated with the city of London. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving charters and registers include Joseph Mory aged 19, who was one of the earliest settlers to the Virginia colony of New England. He left the port of London on the ship "Blessing" in April 1635. Mary Moorey, the daughter of John Moorey was christened at the church of St. Mary Aldermary, in the city of London in 1738 whilst in 1747 Mary Morey married William Coleman at St Georges Chapel, Hanover Square, Westminster, and in 1775 Barbara Jane Morey married Thomas Eades at same church. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of William Morehay. This was dated 1385, in the charters known as the Close Rolls for the city of London, during the reign of King Richard II, 1378 - 1400. 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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