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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the English Manley family come from? What is the English Manley family crest and coat of arms? When did the Manley family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Manley family history?

Manley is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Manley family lived in the places named Manley in Cheshire. The place-name was originally derived from the Old English word moene, which means common or shared, and leah, which means wood or clearing. This surname is still found most frequently around the villages of Manley in Devon and Cheshire.


Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Manley family name include Manley, Mandley, Mandly, Manly, Mannley and others.

First found in Cheshire at Manley, a village and civil parish in the union of Runcorn, Second division of the hundred of Eddisbury that dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Menlie. The place name literally means "common wood or clearing," having derived from the Old English words maene + leah. [1] The surname is ancient. In fact, the coat of arms described later in this history traces it's origin to a registration in the Battell Abbey Roll as one of the "companions in arms" of the Conqueror.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Manley research. Another 263 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1157, 1520, 1622, 1699, 1659, 1672 and 1724 are included under the topic Early Manley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 91 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Manley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Manley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 31 words(2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Manley family to immigrate North America:

Manley Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Ralph Manley, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Roger Manley, who landed in Virginia in 1664

Manley Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • George Manley, who arrived in Virginia in 1715

Manley Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • John Manley, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1847
  • Jethro Manley, who arrived in Ohio in 1849
  • Ellen Manley, aged 40, landed in New York in 1854
  • Patrick Manley, aged 13, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Edward, James, John, Joseph, Michael, Patrick, Richard, Thomas, and William Manley all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860


  • John H. Manley (1907-1999), American nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project
  • Dexter Keith Manley (b. 1959), American former NFL football defensive end
  • Brigadier-General Frederick Willis Manley (1881-1958), American Commanding Officer Camp Rucker, Alabama (1942-1943)
  • Tom Manley (1912-1988), English footballer
  • Elizabeth Ann Manley (b. 1965), Canadian Olympic figure skating champion
  • Michael Norman Manley (b. 1923), Prime Minister of Jamaica
  • Norman Washington Manley (1893-1969), Jamaican Rhodes Scholar and the politician who founded the People's National party in Jamaica
  • Graham Manley, British comic artist


  • My Husband's Folk the Manlys and Galloways and Allied Famili.
  • by Elizabeth Cate Manly, Manley Family : New England and New York, 1650-19.
  • by Henry Sackett Manley.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Manus haec inimica tyrannis
Motto Translation: This hand is hostile to tyrants.


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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  2. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  4. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  7. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  8. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Manley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Manley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 26 September 2014 at 11:35.

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