This surname of AREY was a locational name 'of Arras' a town in Artois, famous for its tapestry. The name was brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. Early records of the name mention Simon de Arey who was recorded in 1202 in London, and Hugo de Erghes appears in County Yorkshire in the year 1233. Robert de Arrey, 1273, in London. Edward Ariss of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1370, and Ralph de Aray was documented in County Salop in the year 1307.
Prior to the Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066, no one had surnames, only christian or nicknames in England. Based on this, and our physical attributes, we were given surnames incorporating tax codes to show trades, areas in which we lived, as today we have street names and numbers. Surnames were used in France and like speaking countries from about the year 1000, and a few places had second names even earlier. Even early monarchs had additions to show attributes and character, for example Ethelred (red-hair) the Unready (never prepared). Edward I was named 'Long shanks' because of his long legs, and Richard III was called 'Crouchback' owing to his deformed shoulder.
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