The surname was an official name 'the heir'. The name was originally derived from the Old French 'eir' and was brought into England and Scotland in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Early records of the name mention Roger de Hayre, County Norfolk, 1264. Johan Ayr of Aytone, Berwickshire was documented in 1296. Richard Ayre owned lands in Kinnaird in 1450. Humphrey Mercer married Katherine Ayer in London in the year of 1583. Francis Lee married Ann Ayre at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1757. Hugh Jones and Elizabeth Ayres were married in London in 1610. Richard Ayars of St.Alpage was married in London in 1724. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. A notable member of the name was Sir Henry Ayers (1821-97) the Australian politician, born in Portsea, Hampshire. He emigrated to Australia in 1841. In 1863 he was elected to the first Legislative Council for the state. Ayers Rock, a giant monolith in the south of the Northern territories of Sout Australia, was named after him. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066.
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