Show ContentsCopley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Copley name come from when the Anglo-Saxon tribes ruled over Britain. The name Copley was originally derived from a family having lived in Copley Plain in Loughton, which was in Essex; in Copley Hill in Babraham, which was found in Cambridgeshire; or in Copley in Halifax, which was in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Thus, the surname Copley belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Copley family

The surname Copley was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire at Copley. Another branch of the family was later found at Sprotborough. "The manor subsequently became the property of the Copley family, of whom Sir Godfrey built the present spacious mansion in the reign of Charles II., and whose descendant Sir Joseph Copley, Bart., is now lord." [1]

"The manor [of Batley in the West Riding of Yorkshire] was for eighteen generations held by the Copley family." [1]

Early History of the Copley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Copley research. Another 81 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1575, 1567, 1607, 1648, 1693, 1692, 1692, 1623, 1677, 1653, 1709, 1691, 1679, 1685, 1695 and 1707 are included under the topic Early Copley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Copley Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Copley include Copley, Coppley, Copply, Coply and others.

Early Notables of the Copley family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Thomas Copley of Bedingfield; Anthony Copley (1567-1607), English, Catholic supporter of Queen Elizabeth, known for his disapproval of the Jesuit meditations on martyrdom; Sir Lionel Copley (1648-1693), who arrived in America in 1692 to become the 1st Royal Governor of Maryland (1692 until...
Another 51 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Copley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Copley Ranking

In the United States, the name Copley is the 3,670th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Copley family to Ireland

Some of the Copley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Copley migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Copley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Copley, who landed in Maryland in 1634 [3]
  • James Copley, aged 22, who landed in Virginia in 1635 aboard the ship "Globe" [3]
  • Thomas Copley, who settled in Maryland in 1636
  • Savell Copley, who arrived in Maryland in 1653 [3]
  • Hen Copley, who arrived in Virginia in 1656 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Copley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard Copley, who landed in New England in 1737 [3]
Copley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Copley, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]

Australia Copley migration to Australia +

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

Copley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Gervase Copley, (b. 1762), aged 51, English convict who was convicted in Nottinghamshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Earl Spencer" in May 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1813 aboard the ship [4]
  • James Copley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "The Stratheden" in 1850 [5]
  • Mary Ann Copley, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Europa" [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Copley (post 1700) +

  • Sir Godfrey Copley (d. 1709), English founder of the Copley medal, son of Sir Godfrey Copley of Sprotborough, Yorkshire [7]
  • John Singleton Copley (1738-1815), American painter, born at Boston, Massachusetts, 3 July 1737, son of Richard Copley, a native of the county of Limerick, considered the greatest American artist of the Colonial period [7]
  • Rebecca Copley, American soprano opera singer
  • William Nelson Copley (1919-1996), American artist, Surrealist painter
  • John Copley the Younger (1772-1863), English (Boston born) Statesman, who held positions of Lord Chancellor, Solicitor General, Attorney General and Master of the Rolls, and was made Baron Lyndhurst on 25 April 1827
  • James "Jimmy" Copley (1953-2017), English rock drummer who worked with Jeff Beck, Graham Parker, Upp, Paul Young, Roger Glover, Magnum, Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple
  • Paul Mackriell Copley (b. 1944), English award-winning actor
  • John Michael Harold Copley (b. 1933), British theatre and opera producer
  • Peter Copley (b. 1915), English stage, and television actor
  • Mrs. Rachel Copley B.E.M., British musical director of Rotherham Choral Society, was appointed Medallist of the British Empire Medal 29th December 2018 for services to Music Charities and to the community in South Yorkshire [8]
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Miss Susan Elaine Copley (d. 1979), British passenger, from United Kingdom aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; she died in the crash [9]

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th September 2021). Retrieved from
  5. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The STRATHEDEN 1850. Retrieved
  6. South Australian Register Monday 14th May 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Europa 1855. Retrieved
  7. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020
  8. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018,
  9. Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from on Facebook