Show ContentsHedley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Hedley is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Hedley family once lived in one of a variety of similarly-named places. Headley in Hampshire is the oldest. The surname Hedley 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 Hedley family

The surname Hedley was first found in Shropshire and Hampshire. One of the first records of the name was Siward de Hedeleia who was listed in 1148, in Winton, Hampshire. Stephen de Hedleye was listed the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1327. [1] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Alan de Hedleg, and Nicholas de Heddeleg in Shropshire and the Yorkshire Poll Tax Records of 1379 list Willelmus de Hedlay and Margareta de Hedelay. [2]

Early History of the Hedley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hedley research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1273 and 1832 are included under the topic Early Hedley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hedley Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Hedley family name include Headley, Heggeley, Headly, Hedley, Hedly, Hedlegg, Hedleigh, Headlee, Headleigh, Hegeley and many more.

Early Notables of the Hedley family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Hedley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hedley Ranking

In the United States, the name Hedley is the 16,905th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

United States Hedley migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Hedley surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Hedley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Theo Hedley, who settled in Bermuda in 1635
  • Edward Hedley, aged 13, who arrived in Bermuda, (Somers Islands) in 1635 aboard the ship "Truelove" [4]
Hedley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Henry Hedley, aged 45, who landed in New York in 1799 [4]
Hedley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Hedley, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813 [4]
  • Hartas Hedley, who arrived in New York in 1825 [4]

Australia Hedley migration to Australia +

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

Hedley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Catherine Hedley who was convicted in Liverpool, Merseyside, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Cadet" on 10th November 1848, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]

New Zealand Hedley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Hedley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. R. W. Hedley, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "James Nicol Fleming" arriving in Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand on 22nd August 1872 [6]
  • Alex Hedley, aged 30, a blacksmith, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maraval" in 1879
  • Mary Hedley, aged 33, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maraval" in 1879
  • James Hedley, aged 10, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maraval" in 1879
  • Margaret Hedley, aged 7, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maraval" in 1879

Contemporary Notables of the name Hedley (post 1700) +

  • Lieut. Robert Shafto Hedley (1857-1884), English captain of the Royal Engineers team that reached the final of the FA Cup in 1878
  • Charles Hedley (1862-1926), English naturalist and malacologist who spent most of his life in Australia, winner of the 1925 Clarke Medal
  • Jack Hedley (1929-2021), born Jack Snowdon Hawkins, a British actor, best known for his performances on television; he had to change his name to avoid confusion with Jack Hawkins, another actor who was registered with the British actors' trade union Equity, best known for his performances in For Your Eyes Only (1981), The New York Ripper (1982) and The World of Tim Frazer (1960)
  • William Hedley (1779-1843), British leading industrial engineers of the early 19th century; he built the first practical steam locomotive [7]
  • Thomas Hedley, British co-founder of The Thomas Hedley Co., a British company based in Newcastle upon Tyne manufacturing soap and candles in 1837
  • Thomas Hedley Jr., British Christopher Award winning writer, best known for his work on Flashdance (1983), Hard to Hold (1984) and Double Negative (1980)
  • Charles "Charlie" Hedley (1881-1942), pioneering Australian rugby league player
  • Dr. Ronald Hedley, of the British Museum of Natural History
  • John Hedley McIndoe (1934-2022), English-born, Scottish minister of the Church of Scotland, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1996
  • Mr. David Hedley Johnson B.E.M., British recipient of Medallist of the British Empire Medal 29th December 2018 for services to Drama in Oldham [8]

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th November 2020). Retrieved from
  6. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  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, on Facebook