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DERIVATION of Name FOY(E): Possibilities
Posted by: Markgraf von Leutershausen Date: July 11, 2000 at 12:59:29
  of 176

So, not as to proclaim anything at all, but rather to posit some food for thought (hopefully not garbage), let me begin.

I propose a few word studies to both qualify and/or eliminate some possibilities as well as to invite some others.

FOYE: Possible derivation 1: People of Fire

1. English: FIRE n. [ME, fyre; AS, fyr; akin to German Feuer; IE base *pewor, seen also in Greek Pur, fire (cf. pyre);

2. French: Feu [f](pronounciation is in between Boeufs and beurre in French).

[Markgraf NOTE: It is not beyond one's grasp to see the possible PHONETIC connection between [f] = fey = Foy, Fay, Fee, and Fahey. Hold this in obeyance for the time being). Also, note that Feu in French can also mean "deceased" or "late" [perhaps, in the sense of cremation or "fired" after death.

3. An interesting (sideline? or main point?) is the GERMAN FEUER [FEU-ER}. Seems to be some connection between the two languages on an etymological root basis. AH, HAH! The German pronunciation is [foyer] which is close to the french Feu.

NOW: let's go back into French for the word FOYER: [fwy] meaning AH, HAH! Fire-place;, hearth. Note that the meaning is slightly different from the current English word spelled the same meaning vestibule or hall.

The point of this exercise is to show a German-French connection of the word for fire and to show how the French Feu and FOYER are linked together in meaning.

It is also quite interesting to note that the English word foy (pronounced Foi) has a Middle Dutch spellings of foy, foou, voye: prob. <OFr. voie < Latin via, way, journery[Dial.], a feast, present, given by or to a person departing on a journey. Is it too much to suppose that a Feast or FOY might not have been given at a Fire-place or Hearth

So, just in this brief instance of etymology, we see a connection between fire (FEU), a fire-place (FOYER) or reception place for visitors or travelers or voyagers, and the Feast (FOY) given for the voyager.

I do not think I am being too clever to lump these words together. They connect root-wise, context-wise, and somewhat, spelling-wise. They also transcend centuries.

Is it possible that FOY(E) is more derived from FIRE than FAITH (FOI)? Hummmmmmmmm, I wonder. Perhaps the Foy(e)s were people of FIRE. Protestants who were burned at the stake for their Faith.

I do not wish to argue the history of Saint Foy. I have no doubt her name was Saint Fides in the time of AD 200. Remember that she was put to the fire (on a griddle) for her faith.

Fire was the test of ones faith. So are the Foy[e]'s people of FIRE [FEU], people of FAITH (FOI) or people of FAITH by FIRE.

Or were they VOYAGERS (from Latin via) who evangelized during their journeys showing where they were either feasted for their faith or fired at the hearth for their beliefs. It seems the French had quite an interest in testing Saints by Fire (Saint Foy and Saint Jean d'Arc).

I remember that most nobility were given titles for their FEALTY in battle.......more later

David Foy states

[In France the name was elevated in feudal times by the knighting of a warrior of Picardy, whose descendents were known as deFoye and who took a fief in Yorkshire about 100 years after the Norman conquest. The title was extinct by about three generations later, but the arms can still be found in standard works of heraldry. The modern British names of Devoe, Dafoe, DeFoye(very rare), Foye, and Foy, are all descended from the Norman deFoye.]

I would suggest that, in the case of fealty or feudalism, that Foy(e) is equivalent to French Fee (a Fief; honoraires (one honored for his service).

CONCERNING the NORMAN DeFOYE nomenclature:

Word Study Continuation:

Eng: Fire < German: Feuer = French: Feu
Eng: Foyer (Hall)< French: Foyer (Fireplace)
Dutch: Foy < Feast for Voyager at Fireplace.

Feu SCOTTISH [fu][Scottish for fee; see FEE], in Scottish history and law, 1. a fee; feudal estate. 2. a renting of land paid for by the holder in grain or money rather than in military service, 3. the land so held.

Feuar Scottish[fu'er) a person who held a feu (fee) or feudal estate.

Now in the feudal days, it was the Feuar who would hold the feasting for the returning knights (voyagers). The one who had the estate had the large hearth (Foyer) for the Feasting (Foy) over the fire (Feu).

Those who would not serve as knights worked the land as fiefs in this fiefdom and paid a fee (Feu) to the Feuar.

Fee English(Fe)n. (ME, fee, feo, fief, payment; anglo-Fr, fee, fie (OFr. feu, fiu, fief); associated with ME. feo, feoh (<AS, feoh); hence property, chattels; sense influences < ML. feodum, feudum, probablyy literally, cattle-wealth < Gmc. *fexu, (whence OHG. fihu, G. vieh, AS feoh, cattle) + od, wealth); IE, base *pek-, sheep, cattle, as also in Latin. pecu, pecus, cattle; cr. pecuniary, peculiar, and, for sense development, CHATTEL.

1. Originally, heritable land held from a feudal lord in return for service; fiedr; feudal benefice; also called feud. b) the right to hold such land.

What we see here, is that the Estate holder, the Feuar, would give a grant of land (Feud) as a reward or beneficience to one who served him in the military.

Feudalism: the feudal system; economic, political, and social organization of medieval Europe, in which land, worked by serfs attached to it, was held by vassals ( a feudal tenant)in exchange for military and other services given to overlords;

Now no Feuar was worth his salt if he did not have a Feud with a Foe. (perhaps a neighboring Feuar or even his tenant with whom he had an agreement to provide land for his military or other service.

Foe English: (Fo) n. [ME, fo, ifo; AS, fah, hostile, (ge) fah, enemy; akin to OHG, gefeh, at feud, hostile; for IE, base see Feud, an enemy; opponent.

Fehde German: f. Feud, quarrel

Feodal French f. Feudal


I am much more inclined from this word study to suggest that the Germanic or Alsace-Lorrainian Foyes were, as suggested by David Foy in his citation:

Available documentation points to the first French Foy in England as being a knight of Picardy, named deFoye, who took a fief in Yorkshire ca 1100-1110, about a century after the Conquest.

But, WAIT A MINUTE, let's examine this.


GUIBERT DE NOGENT in Histor. Occid. Croisades, IV, 115-263; MONOD, Le moine Guibert et son temps (Paris, 1905). ]

In the eleventh century the name of "Frank" was applied in a general manner to all the inhabitants of Western Europe, being a survival of the political unity established by the Carolingians for the benefit of the Franks. The Byzantine chroniclers never otherwise refer to the Westerns. Herv, a Norman adventurer in the service of the Byzantine emperors in the eleventh century, is called "Francopoulos" (Son of the Franks). It was therefore quite natural that this name of "Frank" should be used by the Orientals in referring to the crusaders, and it is evident that they called themselves by the same name. "Gesta Francorum" is the title of one of the chief accounts of the Crusades. Since the Crusades the word Frank remains in the east a synonym for Western, and to-day the term is still used in that sense. Moreover, the idea that the Franks were a people chosen by God arose soon after their conversion to Christianity, and finds expression many times in the traditions relative to Clovis, which Gregory of Tours transmits to us. We read in one of the prologues of the Salic Law: "Glory to Christ, who loves the Franks! May He preserve their kingdom! May He replenish their leaders with His grace, for this is the strong and brave nation which has richly covered with gold the bodies of the holy martyrs." With Charlemagne the Franks protected the Roman Church from the Lombard invasion, destroyed paganism among the Saxons, drove back the Mussulmans (Moors), and established their protectorate over the Holy Sepulchre. Hence the crusade was, for the men of the eleventh century, merely the crowning of that alliance between God and the Franks, and after the discourse of Urban II at Clermont, it was to the cry of "God wills it!" that all made haste to take the cross.

GUIBERT DE NOGENT in Histor. Occid. Croisades, IV, 115-263; MONOD, Le moine Guibert et son temps (Paris, 1905).

I WOULD SUGGEST, in conclusion, that historical evidence and etymology points strongly toward the deFOYES of PICARD as having been awarded land and title for their military service.......BUT, in 1100, who was doing the military service.......AHEM, the FRANKS, who were that Germanic tribe whose language dialect extends from Southern Hesse and south to the French Alps, West to France.

I suggest that the people who lived in Picardy, especially the deFoyes, were Franks, (a German tribe) called into service by the Bishop of Tours to rid the region of the Spanish Moors.... The saviors of France, from which France received its name, but who, in fact, not too many centuries later, were not really welcome much longer. Picardie , a district of France in the western part of Northeast France......bordering the English Channel near Calais and extending eastward towards the district of Champagne, less than 35 miles from the district of Lorraine.

Well, it seems then, that, these Foy(e)s could very well have been Franks who were rewarded for their military service by being permitted to be vassals to French Lords, who, not being totally relieved from military duty due to prior service, could easily have been sent on the Norman invasion of England. I mean, really, if the Foyes were truly French, there would be more of a record of their having been there. No monuments have been left to the Foyes. Why? Because they were outsiders to France....indeed, FRANKS, who were temporarily asked to serve on behalf of Rome by the Bishops, temporarily rewarded for their military duty as vassals in a hot zone for the next 1000 years.

FINAL DISCLAIMER......ALL of the ABOVE except the cited word studies and one historical account, are posited by me. They are suppositions. They are open for challenge and protest. PLEASE Argue. But, after it all, I will defend my thesis that Foy(e)s never were French at all.....Sure, they lived in France,,,,,,,,but they were not French.....they were FRANKS. Once a FRANK, always a FRANK.

[Any Frenchmen today worth his salt would detest his Country being called FRANKREICH or even France, because the FRANKS long over extended their incursion into France fighting the Mussleman. France, if it were to be known in public, still is trying to get the FRANKS out of FRANCE] All of the aforesaid encapsulated is pure bunk.

Finally, I am a Foye, (attested by my twin's middle name and my grandmother's maiden name) and I will be the first to admit that they are a strange, but principaled Bunch.

If this offends any Foys, I suggest they take another inward look.


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