The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This Monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work. The English, German and Dutch surname of EYRICH was a name applied to 'the descendant of the heir', i.e. the person in whom the fee of land vested at the owner's death. It has been suggested that the name is derived from the personal name AER, a short form of the Old English name EALHHERE meaning 'noble'. A legend is told concerning William the Conqueror, at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, being unhorsed and his helmet beaten into his face. The early ancestor of the family quickly pulled the helmet off and horsed him again. The grateful Duke then said 'Thou shalt hereafter be called AER for thou haste given me the air I breath'. Early records of the name mention Roger de Hayre who was recorded in the County of Norfolk in 1264. Thomas Ayr of Yorkshire was recorded in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and Richard Ayre of County Lancashire appears in 1400. 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. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but they were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1377) that it became a common practice for all people. 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. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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