Grelley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The Grelley surname was most likely originally created from a place name. There is a Gresley in Derbyshire and a Greasley in Nottinghamshire, both of which became habitation surnames. The two place names are in turn derived from the Old English "greosn," or "gravel," and "leah," meaning a "wood" or "clearing."
Early Origins of the Grelley family
The surname Grelley was first found in Derbyshire at Church Gresley or Castle Gresley which date back to c. 1125 when the were collectively listed as Gresele. Later years saw the place name evolve to Castelgresele in 1252 and later as Churchegreseleye in 1363. It is generally thought that the root Gresley was derived from the Old English word "greosn," which meant "gravel." 
As far as the surname goes, the Topographer of 1789 states "In point of stationary antiquity hardly any families in the kingdom can compare with the Gresleys." They are the only family in the county that trace back "to the house of Drakelow; descended from Nigel, mentioned in the Domesday, called de Stafford, and said to have been a younger son of Roger de Toni, standard-bearer in Normandy, it was very soon after the Conquest established in Derbyshire, first at Gresley, and immediately afterwards at Drakelow, in the same parish." 
One of the first records of the name was Sir Thomas de Grelly, who was knighted by King Edward 1st in 1306, and later Baron Gresly who was summoned to Parliament in 1308.
"The manor of 'Lulletune' [Lullington, Derbyshire] was in the Gresley family, in the reign of Edward I.; and the church was given by that family to the priory of Gresley, in the reign of Edward II." 
Childwall Manor in Lancashire "was given to Albert Grelley, Baron of Manchester, and in his successors the superior lordship of the manor continued to be vested. It is recorded among the members of the barony down to 1473. In 1306 Thomas Grelley demanded against Adam de Ireland and Avina his wife two messuages and an oxgang of land in Garston." 
Important Dates for the Grelley family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grelley research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1208, 1513, 1603, 1308, 1206, 1254, 1615 and 1678 are included under the topic Early Grelley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Grelley Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Grelley are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Grelley include Greasley, Gresley, Grysley, Grisle, Grysely, Grisley, Grelly, Gresly, Greseley, Greiseley, Grelley and many more.
Early Notables of the Grelley family (pre 1700)
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Grelley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Grelley family
Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Grelley, or a variant listed above: Jeffery Gresley, who arrived in Virginia in 1791; as well as Philip J Greaseley, who was naturalized in Fairfield Co. Ohio in 1833.
- ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ 'Townships: Scarisbrick', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, ed. William Farrer and J Brownbill (London, 1907), pp. 265-276. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol3/pp265-276 [accessed 21 January 2017].