Story (surname)

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Story coat of arms (impression)

The surname Story (and its variant spelling Storey) originates from the Old Norse personal epithet “Stóri”, a derivative of “Storr” which means “large” or “big”. Even though it has been established that the root of the name is “Storr”, R.E.K. Rigbeye, in his book The Storey’s of Old claims that the suffix “ey[e]”, in the variant of Storey, is equivalent to the Icelandic “ig” and signifies “water”. According to him, “Storr” also denotes large in the sense of vast and rough. Rigbeye’s assumption therefore, is that “Storey” means "dweller by large and rough water". This may be explained by the Norse affinity to sea exploration, or the fact that the first Storys settled near the Lake District, and so the name might refer to the habitation which they chose. The earliest Norse settlement of which the first Storys would have been a part, took place in the 9th century north of Carlisle near the Solway Firth. This area then known as Strathclyde, was situated in the northwestern part of England, along the Scottish border. The earliest Storys would have settled on the English side of the border, most likely in the plains along the river Eden. The English or Anglo-Saxon population, among whom the Norse settled, spoke a similar language but pronounced many words in a different way. So, “Storr” among the Norse would have been enunciated as “Styr” in English.


One of the earliest mentions of the name is “Styr (Saxon for Stor) who gave the manor of Durham with other places to the Abbot of Lindisfarne in the year 999 A.D.” (Symeonis Dunelmensis, vol I, pp. 150–154.) The forenames Stori and Estori (without surname) are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 (Derbyshire), a survey of England conducted for William the Conqueror. Those who bore such names were of Norse blood. (The Scandinavian "Stor", "Stori" and "Storius" occur prior to Domesday Survey.) Afterwards, the name can be traced down in the Northern English counties, particularly Yorkshire. The surname Story is first found in the 1248 Feet of Fines or Fine Court Rolls of Essex, and shows to be that of a certain Alexander (Essex Arch. Soc. 4 Vols, 1899 - 1964). A “Reginaldus filius [son of] Story” is mentioned in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire (1219) (York Arch. Soc. 44, 100, 1911, 1939; Seldon Soc. 56, 1937). The surname from this source is first recorded circa 1250. Other spellings of the name are Stori (William, 1281), with Storre and Staury, the 1379 Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire. More examples of various spellings include: Alan le Storeys 1272, Ricus Stury or Storey 1350, Johannes Storey, Rector of Richmondshire 1429, Dr Edward Storey or Story 1464, John Story 1476, Nicholas Storie of Liddesdale 1590, Thomas Story of Wall 1666.

During the reign of Edward I (1272 to 1307), the kingdoms of England and Scotland went to war, and for the next 300 years, the Storys found themselves entangled in the Border wars between the two kingdoms. A coat of arms was bestowed on the family by (or during the reign of) Richard II of England (reigned 1377-1399). It shows a shield with a blazon of argent (silver) thereupon a lion rampant double queued (two-tailed) purple charged on its shoulder with a so-called “cross pattée” in argent (silver), the crest consisting of the face of a leopard out of a ducal crown (coronet). A bloody feud between the Stor(e)ys and Grahams in the 16th century, forced many family members to migrate eastward from the region surrounding the City of Carlisle, to Northumberland in the east.


The name may refer to many people:

See also[edit]