The surname of EYRES was a baptismal name 'the son of the heir'. The name was derived from the Old English word 'heyre' and was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as ALCHER. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Early records of the name also mention Ralph le Eir, who was was documented in County Essex, 1208. Robertus Heres was recorded in Gloucestershire in 1220. Henry le Eyer, 1273 County Oxford and John Ayr was recorded in Scotland in the year 1296. William le Eyre, of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Adam le Eyr, County Cambridge, ibid. One of several families bearing the surname traces its descent from Humphrey le Heyr of Bromham, County Wiltshire, who was one of the crusaders who accompanied Richard I to the Holy Land in the 12th century. One of several families bearing the surname traces its descent from Humphrey le Heyr of Bromham, County Wiltshire, who was one of the crusaders who accompanied Richard 1 to the Holy Land in the 12th century. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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