This interesting name, with variant spellings Tey, Tye, Tea, etc, is of English topographical origin from residence by an extensive common pasture, (Old English "teag", Medieval English "tye", a common pasture), or from residence near a river of piece of land surrounded by streams. The derivation in the second case is from a misdivision of the Old English phrase "at(te)ea" meaning "at a river". The surname from the former source was first recorded in the latter part of the 13th Century, (see below). One, Peter atte-tye, witness, appears in "The Norfolk Fine Court Rolls", dated 1337. Robert atte Ea, The Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire, (1351), was the first recorded namebearer from the latter source. In some instances the name may specifically derive from residence by The River Tees in North East England. On January 1st 16366, Anna Tee, an infant, was christened in St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de la Tye, which was dated 1273 - "The Hundred Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1, "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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