The surname of WRAY was a locational name 'the dweller at the wray' the corner of the field or meadow, from residence nearby. The name was originally derived from the Old Norman word VRA, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Other spellings of the name include WRAYE, WRAYTEN, WRATON, WREATON and WRYTON. Early records of the name mention Robert in le Wra, 1301 County Lancashire. Isabel Dockwraye, 1560 was listed in the Wills at Chester. Thomas Jackson married Jane Wraie, St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1598. Sir Christopher Wray, of Glentworth, 1523 - 1592, was Knighted in 1574. Thomas Johnson and Jane Wray were married at St. James's Clerkenwell, London in the year 1598. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. 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. Grant of Arms by William Fowler, 1587. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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