33. GRAY

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Fay Sampson’s Family History

This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)

Sampson  Tree



TURGIS DE GRAY. We can trace our Gray ancestry back to Normandy in the 10th century.

Turgis was the son of Arnulf de Graye.

He is said to have been born in 926. [1]

This is 15 years after Charles the Simple ceded land in the north of France between the mouth of the Seine and Rouen to the Norwegian Viking Rollo. This became the basis of the Duchy of Normandy. Turgis’s parents and grandparents would have been among these earliest settlers. These were predominantly Danish, but after 911 there are likely to have been many farmers and fishermen from the Danelaw in NE England.

It is possible that the Grays of Normandy had Anglo-Danish blood. Among the pre-Conquest landowners in the Domesday Book we find three named Turgis or its variant Thorgils. They owned land near Grimsby in the north-east of England, Kings Lynn in the east, and Canterbury in the south-east.


It was not until 924, shortly before Turgis’s birth, that the Normans formally took over the Bessin, the coastal area just east of the Cherbourg Peninsula. This included the village of Graye-sur-Mer, which gives the Gray family its surname.

Turgis’s name means “hostage of Thor”, showing respect for the Germanic gods, even after the Normans had converted to Christianity.

Arnulf may have had other children, but Turgis is the only one whose name we know.

We do not know the name of his mother.


Turgis became Sire de Luc and de Gray. Luc-sur-Mer is also on the Bessin coast north of Caen. A Sire is a feudal lord or lord of the manor.

Luc-sur-Mer [2]


We have no information about Turgis’s wife, but we are told that he had two sons: Hugues (Hugh) FitzTurgis de Gray (1003- >1086) and Turstin de Grai. Turstin means “rock of Thor”, evidence that the name of Norse gods were still popular.

Fitz means “son of”. It was later used to designate a bastard, but here it is used for legitimate sons.

There seems to be a discrepancy in the dates here. The Turgis born in 926 is unlikely to have fathered a son in 1003. Either his birth date is wrong or there may be a missing generation, also called Turgis.


Turgis’s grandson (or great-grandson) Anchetil, founded the powerful Gray family in England, while the Normandy branch declined. No other instances of the name Turgis are found among their Normandy descendants.


[1] http://www.turgis.org/?p=238
[2] https://s.iha.com/00150950306/Luc-sur-mer-Walk-along-close-to-luc-sur-mer-calvados.jpeg




Sampson Tree