Show ContentsAstley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Astley family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Astley comes from when the family lived in Warwickshire, where they founded the town of Astley. The name is local; a transliteration of the name is east leigh, or east wood. [1]

Astley is a district chapelry, in the parish and union of Leigh, hundred of West Derby, S. division of Lancashire. [2] "Astley Hall, or Damhouse, situated in the township of Tyldesley, but on the borders of that of Astley, was built in 1650 by Adam Mort, from whom it has passed to his descendant and present representative, Mrs. Ross, lady of Col. Malcolm Nugent Ross, who has greatly enlarged the mansion." [2]

Astley is also a parish, in the union of Martley, Lower division of the hundred of Doddingtree, Hundred-House and W. divisions of the county of Worcester. "An alien priory of Benedictine monks was founded here by Ralph de Todeni, in the reign of William I.; it was annexed to the college of Westbury, in that of Edward IV., and given, at the Dissolution, to Sir Ralph Sadleir." [2]

Early Origins of the Astley family

The surname Astley was first found in Warwickshire at Astley, a village and parish within the North Warwickshire district. There are other locals through Britain, but this seems to be local from which the family are descended. The name can be "traced to Philip de Estlega in the 12th of Henry II, and in the female line from the Constables of Melton-Constable, which estate came into the family be the second marriage of Thomas Lord Astley with Edith, third sister and coheir of Geoffrey de Donstable, in the time of Henry II." [3]

"A short distance to the north of the church [in Astley, Warwickshire] is a mansion, erected in the sixteenth century, on the site of a more ancient baronial castle: in the interior are a chair and table, which, according to an inscription, were those used by Henry, Marquess Grey and Duke of Suffolk, father of Lady Jane Grey, when concealed in a hollow tree in the vicinity." [2]

Astley Castle, the original seat, descended by an heiress to the Greys of Ruthin.

Early History of the Astley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Astley research. Another 45 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1295, 1579, 1652, 1642, 1643, 1644, 1595, 1642, 1659, 1660, 1639, 1729, 1667, 1739, 1692, 1760, 1729, 1802, 1756, 1817, 1797, 1859, 1662, 1625, 1688, 1687, 1772 and 1821 are included under the topic Early Astley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Astley Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Astley has appeared include Astley, Astlee, Astlie, Astly and others.

Early Notables of the Astley family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Jacob Astley, Lord Astley (1579-1652), English Royalist, the second son of Isaac Astley of Melton Constable, Norfolk. "During the first civil war Astley is a notable figure. He was among those 'hurt' at Edgehill (13 Oct. 1642.) He commanded a division at the siege of Gloucester. When Essex, after relieving that city, had fought the battle of Newbury (20 Sept. 1643), and had continued his retreat to London, Sir Jacob possessed himself of Reading. In 1644 he assisted Lord Hopton in the capture of Arundel (soon retaken by Waller), and shared in...
Another 145 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Astley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Astley migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Astley arrived in North America very early:

Astley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Astley, who arrived in New England in 1627 [4]
  • William Astley, who landed in Maryland in 1679 [4]
  • Charles Astley who settled in New England in 1684
Astley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Henry Astley, who settled in Philadelphia in 1781
Astley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • T J Astley, who landed in Texas in 1850 [4]
  • Christopher Astley, who settled in Newcastle, Del. in 1852

Australia Astley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Astley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Astley, English convict from Chester, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Mr. John Astley, English convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Elphinstone" on 20th January 1836, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Mr. John Astley, (b. 1815), aged 30, English boat man who was convicted in Preston, Lancashire, England for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Equestrian" on 30th June 1845, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island), he died in 1851 [7]

New Zealand Astley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Astley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Edward Astley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1870
  • Charles Astley, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Chile" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Astley (post 1700) +

  • Richard Paul "Rick" Astley (b. 1966), English pop singer from Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, best known for his song "Never Gonna Give You Up" which was a number 1 hit single in 25 countries in 1987
  • Horace Astley (b. 1882), English footballer who played for Crystal Palace as a forward (1905-1907)
  • Philip Astley (1742-1814), English equestrian, circus owner, and inventor, regarded as being the "father of the modern circus"
  • Justin Astley (b. 1983), English former professional snooker player from Darwen, Lancashire
  • John Emmanuel "Joe" Astley (1899-1967), English footballer
  • Sir Frances Astley (1859-1939), English nobleman, head of Atlantic College, 4th Baronet Astley
  • Sir John Dugdale Astley (1828-1894), 3rd Baronet of Everley, MP for Lincolnshire North 1874-1880
  • Sir John Astley (1687-1772), 2nd Baronet of Pateshull, Member of Parliament (MP) for Shrewsbury 1727-1734 and Shropshire 1734-1772
  • Jacob Astley (1654-1688), 3rd Baron Astley of Reading, an English peer
  • Edwin Thomas Astley (1922-1998), British composer, born in Warrington, Lancashire, best remembered for his theme music for the television show The Saint
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Astley Motto +

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: Justitiae tenax
Motto Translation: Justice preserves.

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th March 2022). Retrieved from
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th May 2022). on Facebook