This interesting locational name derives from the Village of Whinneray in Cumberland and perhaps not surprisingly has produced a number of variant spellings since the first recordings. The spellings include Whinnerah, Whinrae, Whynrowe, Whinray, Whinerall etc. and the spread of the name in the 17th Century suggests a wholesale village clearance which is quite possible. The name is Olde English and means 'The Place of the Whin Grasses'. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Whinray of Lancashire. which was dated 1584, the Wills Record at Chester. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, Good Queen Bess 1558-1603 Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.