Harlay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Harlay is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived in Harley, a place-name found in Shropshire and in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The place-name is derived from the Old English words hare, which meant hare or rabbit, and leah, which meant forest clearing. The name as a whole meant "clearing with lots of rabbits." The original bearers of the name lived near or in such a clearing.
Early Origins of the Harlay family
The surname Harlay was first found in Shropshire where "it appears that Edward and Hernulf, living in the first half of the twelfth century, were lords of Harley, and the ancestors of the race who were afterwards denominated therefrom. Sixth in descent from William de Harley living in 1231 was Sir Robert de Harley." 
"In an ancient leiger book of the abbey of Pershore, in Worcestershire is a commemoration of a noble warrior of this name, who commanding an army under Ethelred, king of England, in his wars against Sweyn, king of Denmark, gave the Danes a great defeat near that town, about the year 1013." 
" Before the Conquest, Sir John de Harley was possessed of Harley Castle and lordship." The same, or another, Sir John de Harley accompanied the expedition to the Holy Land in 1098." 
By the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the name was scattered throughout Britain: Henry de Herley in Berkshire; and Clemens de Herleghe in Somerset. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists Matilda Herlay and Willelmus Herlay. 
Further north in Scotland, listings of the family were found in Fife and Clackmannanshire. 
Early History of the Harlay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harlay research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1098, 1782, 1319, 1354, 1558, 1549, 1579, 1656, 1624, 1700, 1664, 1735, 1703, 1735, 1695, 1698, 1661, 1724, 1600, 1643, 1600, 1623, 1579 and 1656 are included under the topic Early Harlay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Harlay Spelling Variations
The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Harlay has been spelled many different ways, including Harley, Hurley, Harrily and others.
Early Notables of the Harlay family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include William Hurley (known works 1319-1354), King's Master Carpenter for King Edward III; John Harley (died 1558), an English Bishop of Hereford; John Harley, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1549; Sir Robert Harley (1579-1656), an English statesman who served as Master of the Mint for Charles I; Sir Edward Harley KB (1624-1700), an English Parliamentarian, Governor of Dunkirk, born at Brampton Bryan, Herefordshire; and his son, Edward Harley (1664-1735), of Eywood, Titley, Herefordshire, Auditor of the Imprests (1703-1735)...
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Harlay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Harlay family to Ireland
Some of the Harlay 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.
Migration of the Harlay family
Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Harlays to arrive in North America: Edmund Harley settled in Maryland in 1725; Charles, Dennis, Edward, James, John, Michael, Patrick, Thomas and William Harley, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860..
Related Stories +
The Harlay 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: Virtute et fide
Motto Translation: By valour and faith.
- ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ 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)