- This interesting name has three possible origins, the first and most generally applicable to modern - day bearers of the name being from the Norman, Olde French term 'norreis', meaning 'northerner'. In this instance, the name meant someone who had migrated from the north, that is from further north in England or from Scotland or Scandinavia, and was common particularly in the midlands and southern counties of England. The second possible origin is Anglo-Saxon, and is a topographic name for someone who lived 'at the north house', one on the north side of a settlement, from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'north' north, and 'hus', house, as in Adam de Norhuse circa (1206, Essex). The third origin is an occupational name for a nurse, from the Olde French 'norrice'. In January 1563 Edwarde Norrey, an infant, was christened in St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Norreis, which was dated 1148, the Winton Rolls, Hampshire, during the reign of King Stephen, Count of Blois, 1135 - 1154. 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.