This interesting surname of Anglo-Saxon origin is a nickname for a person with a fancied resemblance to the peacock, deriving from the Middle English "pe, pa, po", Olde English pre 7th Century "pea" meaning "peacock". It may also have derived from an early medieval male given name Paie. Recordings of the personal name include Paie filius Wlstani, and Paie Blancheard (1142) Facsimiles of Early Charters from Northamptonshire Collections. The surname dates back to the late 13th Century (see below). Further recordings include Richard Pay(e) (1296) The Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, and Hugo Paye (1379) The Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire. Margery Pay married Robert Carver on December 14th 1579 in St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and Anna, daughter of Roger and Anna Pay, was christened on April 20th 1631 in the Church of St. Peter-le-Poer, London. One William Paye together with his wife Ann, daughters Mary, Katherine, Ann and Emily, sons William and Petter, were famine emigrants who sailed from London aboard the "Charlemagne", bound for New York on July 23rd 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elias Paye which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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