This is an early medieval English surname. Recorded as Ey and hence one of a very small group of two lettered surnames, as well as d'Eye, Ege, Eye and Eyes, the latter literally means 'from Eye,' this is a habitational name. It originates from any of the varied places called Eye, derived from the pre 7th century Olde English word 'eg', meaning an island. These places are usually regarded as the parishes of Eye in the counties of Suffolk, Middlesex, Northampton, Oxford and Hereford, but it is possible other places existed in areas of fenland, which were later drained, ceased to be islands, and disappeared or changed their name. The Middlesex parish as Eia was first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, as was the parish of Eia in Suffolk. Habitational surnames are those originally given to the local lord of the manor and his (or sometimes her) descendants, or to people who left their former homes to move elsewhere. The earliest recordings appear to be those of Peitvin de Eya of Suffolk in the pipe rolls of that county in 1191 in the reign of King Richard 1st (1189 - 1199), Peter Ege of the same county in the same year, whilst Stephen de Eye of Yorkshire and Ernald de Eyes of Norfolk appear in the Hundred Rolls of landowners in 1273.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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