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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Worley family name to the British Isles. They lived in Lancashire, in the township of Whalley while Whaley is a small village in Derbyshire.


The surname Worley was first found in Lancashire where they were descended from Wyamarus Whalley, who accompanied William the Conqueror, from Normandy, and was the Standard Bearer at the Battle of Hastings. The Conqueror gave him the lordship of Whalley in the county of Lancaster. In 1296 an Abbot and about 20 monks arrived in Whalley to create a church that would become Whalley Abbey. One of the census records of the name was Robert de Whalley who died before 1193 and was listed as the rector of Rochdale.

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Whalley, Whaley, Walley, Whally and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Worley research. Another 239 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1607, 1675, 1660, 1686, 1719, 1718 and 1719 are included under the topic Early Worley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 333 words (24 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Worley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Worley 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.


Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Worley or a variant listed above:

Worley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Worley, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Elizabeth Worley, who arrived in Virginia in 1652
  • Wm Worley, who landed in Virginia in 1695
  • Moses Worley, who landed in Virginia in 1699

Worley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • George Worley, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • John Daniel Worley, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1729

Worley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Richard Worley arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John Munn" in 1849
  • Mrs. Caroline Ann Worley, aged 41, a seamstress, arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Marion"
  • Francis Worley, aged 21, a butcher, arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Marion"
  • Walter Worley, aged 19, a cook, arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Marion"


  • Timothy Ashley Worley (b. 1966), former American NFL football running back
  • Nancy Worley (b. 1951), American Democratic politician
  • Jo Anne Worley (b. 1937), American actress, best known for her work on the comedy-variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
  • Kate Worley (1958-2004), American comic book writer
  • Darryl Worley (b. 1964), American country music singer-songwriter
  • Richard Worley (1686-1719), English pirate who was active in the Caribbean Sea, one of the earliest pirates to fly the skull and crossbones
  • Tessa Worley (b. 1989), French alpine ski racer


  • 300th Anniversary of Worleys in America, 1682-1915 by Carolyn Worley.

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: Mirabile in profundis
Motto Translation: Wonderful in the Depths.


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  1. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  2. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  6. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  7. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  8. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Worley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Worley 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 6 April 2016 at 18:00.

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