Grisly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The Grisly 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 Grisly family
The surname Grisly 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." 
Early History of the Grisly family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grisly research. Another 187 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1208, 1513, 1603, 1611, 1897, 1976, 1580, 1651, 1628, 1699, 1663, 1661, 1710, 1704, 1699, 1746, 1724, 1308, 1206, 1254, 1615, 1678, 1634, 1638 and 1641 are included under the topic Early Grisly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Grisly Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Grisly were recorded, including Greasley, Gresley, Grysley, Grisle, Grysely, Grisley, Grelly, Gresly, Greseley, Greiseley, Grelley and many more.
Early Notables of the Grisly family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Baron Gresley of Derbyshire, summoned to Parliament in 1308; Sir William Gresley (1206-1254) of Drakelow, Derbyshire; and Henry Greisley (1615?-1678), an English translator. He "was the son of...
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Grisly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Grisly family
The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Grisly arrived in North America very early: Jeffery Gresley, who arrived in Virginia in 1791; as well as Philip J Greaseley, who was naturalized in Fairfield Co. Ohio in 1833.
Related Stories +
- ^ 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].