Cavarley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cavarley is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Cavarley family lived in Yorkshire, where they held a family seat on lands in the lordship of Calverley.

Early Origins of the Cavarley family

The surname Cavarley was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire at Calverley, a parish, in the union of Bradford, wapentake of Morley. [1]

Today Calverley is a village in the City of Leeds metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire but the place name actually dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was first listed as Caverleia [2] and literally meant " clearing where calves are pastured," from the Old English words "calf" + "leah." [3]

Nearby is Calverley Old Hall, a medieval manor house which is believed to have been built (1485-1495) by the Calverleys. Today the property is held by the Landmark Trust. Baron Calverley is a recent barony created in 1945 for George Muff, the Labour politician. Calverleigh is a village, parish and former manor in Devon that also dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Calodelie and later as Calewudelega in 1194. [3] However, this later village was held by the Nagle family for many years.

Of note, was Sir Hugh Calveley (d. 1393), a distinguished soldier, "the son of David de Calvelegh, and his first wife Joan, of Lea in Cheshire, and was the brother, it is thought, of Sir Robert Knolles. Calveley was one of the soldiers of fortune engaged in the war of succession between the partisans of the widow of Jean de Montfort and the wife of Charles de Blois, which lasted with varying fortune from 1341 to 1364. He was buried in the chancel of his college, and his effigy in complete armour may still be seen on one of the finest altar-tombs in his native county. It is engraved in Lysons and in Ormerod. A tablet is suspended against the north wall, opposite to the monument of Calveley, recording a bequest by Dame Mary Calveley of 100l., the interest to be given to poor people frequenting the church on the condition of their cleaning the monument and chancel." [4]

Early History of the Cavarley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cavarley research. Another 203 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1605, 1608, 1136, 1700, 1658, 1394, 1670, 1749, 1605, 1608 and 1607 are included under the topic Early Cavarley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cavarley Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Cavarley include Calverley, Calveley, Calverlie, Calverly and others.

Early Notables of the Cavarley family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Hugh Calveley (died 1394), an English knight and commander, who took part in the Hundred Years' War; his effigy lies at St Boniface's Church, Bunbury, Cheshire; Sir Walter Calverley (1670-1749), 1st Baronet of Calverley in the County of York; and Sir John Calverley, Lord of Calverley. On the more infamous side, Walter Calverley (died 1605), grandson Sir Walter Calverley was an English squire and murderer. His notoriety came not from the murders but from the literary works that arose from his acts including: A Yorkshire...
Another 92 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cavarley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Cavarley family

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Cavarleys to arrive on North American shores: Henry Calverley who settled in Philadelphia with his two brothers, Thomas and William, in 1848; but George Calverlie had settled in Bermuda in 1635.



The Cavarley 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: Ex caligine veritas
Motto Translation: Truth out of darkness.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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