Bleakley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bleakley dates back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon Blæcleah which meant "dark wood" or "dark clearing". The hamlet of Blackley was mentioned in the Domesday Book and little growth of the community was seen until the 19th century. By the middle of the 17th century Blackley was a village of just 107 inhabitants. Today Blackley is a suburb of Manchester with a population of over 10,000 people. There is also a hamlet named Blackey in West Yorkshire.

The Blackledge variant is interesting. It was derived from Black-lake, which evolved into Blackleach. "Probably the spot mentioned in a charter c. 1200 connected with property in Wilmslow parish, East Cheshire, from which district the name in most cases is undoubtedly sprung. " [1]

Early Origins of the Bleakley family

The surname Bleakley was first found in Lancashire at Blackley, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Manchester, hundred of Salford. [2] The first record of this chapelry was in 1282 when it was known as Blakeley and literally meant "dark wood or clearing," for the Old English "blaec" + "leah." [3]

Today Blakesley Hall is a Tudor hall on Blakesley Road in Yardley, Birmingham, England. Originally a timber-framed farmhouse, it was built in 1590.

Early feudal rolls provided the king of the time a method of cataloguing holdings for taxation, but today they provide a glimpse into the wide surname spellings in use at that time. Adam de Blakeneye, alias Adam de Blakeleye, London was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. In Cheshire, the Wills at Chester included: Jane Blakeley, of Bury, widow; and Ralph Blakeley, of Bury. [1] John Blakelache was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Lancashire in 1332. [4]

Much further to the north in Scotland, the first record was of Radulphus Blackley who was juror on inquest at Berwick, 1321. [5]

Early History of the Bleakley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bleakley research. Another 197 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1321, 1587, 1601, 1615, 1473, 1662 and are included under the topic Early Bleakley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bleakley 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 Bleakley has appeared include Blackley, Blakely, Blakley, Blacklee, Blackely, Blackledge, Blacklege, Blatchly and many more.

Early Notables of the Bleakley family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Bleakley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bleakley family to Ireland

Some of the Bleakley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bleakley 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 Bleakley arrived in North America very early:

Bleakley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Matthew Bleakley, aged 23, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1812 [6]
  • Robert Bleakley, aged 30, who landed in New York in 1812 [6]
  • William Bleakley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815 [6]
  • Jane Bleakley, who landed in New York, NY in 1815 [6]
  • John Bleakley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815 [6]

Australia Bleakley migration to Australia +

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

Bleakley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Charles Bleakley, aged 45, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Australia"
  • Ann Bleakley, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Australia"
  • Eliza Bleakley, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Australia"
  • Jane Bleakley, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Australia"
  • Mary Bleakley, aged 16, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Australia"

New Zealand Bleakley 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:

Bleakley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Bleakley, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1843

Contemporary Notables of the name Bleakley (post 1700) +

  • Orrin Dubbs Bleakley (1854-1927), Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Sam Bleakley (b. 1978), English travel writer, author and professional surfer
  • David Bleakley CBE (1925-2017), Northern Ireland politician
  • Christine Louise Bleakley (b. 1979), British television presenter from Northern Ireland


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ 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)


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