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Ely Coat of Arms / Ely Family Crest

Ely Coat of Arms / Ely Family Crest

The surname of ELY was a baptismal name 'the son of Elie or Ellis'. It was also a locational name 'of Ely' the capital of the Fen district. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Reginald filius Elye, 1273, County Lincoln. Robarte Barrongton and Jone Ely were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1560. Daniel Bennett and Mary Eeley were married at the same church in 1619. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. The name was originally from the medieval given name Elis meaning 'Jehovah is God' and was originally borne by a biblical prophet, but its popularity among Christians in the Middle Ages, was a result of its adoption by various early saints, as for example a 7th century bishop of Syracuse and a 9th century Spanish Martyr. In Wales this surname seems to have absorbed forms derived from the Welsh personal name Elisedd, meaning one who was kindly and benevolent.

Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.

The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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