Family History and Genealogy Resources by Surname
Hay Surname Origin
(Origin Scottish) A hedge, an inclosure, to inclose, fence in, a protection, a place of safety. In Dutch, Haag; Saxon, Hege; German, Heck; Danish, Hekke; Swedish, Hagn; French, Haie; Welsh, Cae; Gaelic, Ca; Cornish British, Hay. 'In the reign of Kenneth III. (says Douglass), about 980, the Danes having invaded Scotland, were encountered by that king, near Loncarty, in Perthshire. The Scots at first gave way, and fled through a narrow pass, where they were stopped by a countryman of great strength and courage, and his two sons, with no other weapons than the yokes of their plows. Upbraiding the fugitives for their cowardice, he succeeded in rallying them; the battle was renewed, and the Danes totally discomfited. It is said, that after the victory was obtained, the old man, lying on the ground wounded and fatigued, cried 'Hay, Hay,' which word became the surname of his posterity. The king, as a reward for that signal service, gave him as much land in the Carse of Gowrie as a falcon should fly over before it settled; and a falcon being accordingly let off, flew over an extent of ground six miles in length, afterward called Errol, and lighted on a stone still called Falconstone or Hawkstone.'
Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.
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