- This long-established surname is of early medieval English origin, and has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, the name may be a patronymic of "Eir, Eyre", itself a nickname for a man who was well known to be the heir to a title or fortune, derived from the Middle English "eir, eyr", heir (Old French "(h)eir", Latin "heres"). One Robert l'eyre was recorded in the 1245 Feet of Fines for Cambridgeshire, and Henry le Eyer appears in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire. Hewe Eyr of Roxburghshire who rendered homage to the King of England in 1296, is the earliest recorded Scottish namebearer. The second possibility is that the modern surname is a patronymic form of the Middle English personal name "Aier, Aer", itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Ealhhere", a compound of the elements "eal(h)", old, and "heri", army. Robertus filius (son of) Aier was noted in the 1166 Red Book of the Exchequer. Patronymic forms of the surname having an initial "E" include: Eayrs, Eayres, Eyers and Eyres. Nicholas Eyres, an early settler in the New World, embarked from London on the ship "Guifte" bound for Virginia in 1622. Adrian Eyers married Ellinor Woodcock at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, on October 6th 1628, and the spellings Eayres and Eayrs are recorded respectively in Church Registers of St. Mary Whitechaple, Stepney, and St. Botolph Without Aldersgate, on September 6th 1705 and July 14th 1774. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph le Eir, which was dated 1208, in the "Feet of Fines of Essex", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.
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