Horley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Horley name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having 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 Horley family

The surname Horley 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." [1]

"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." [2]

" 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." [2]

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. [3]

Further north in Scotland, listings of the family were found in Fife and Clackmannanshire. [4]

Early History of the Horley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Horley 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 Horley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Horley Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Horley has undergone many spelling variations, including Harley, Hurley, Harrily and others.

Early Notables of the Horley 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 Horley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Horley family to Ireland

Some of the Horley 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 Horley migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Horley were among those contributors:

Horley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Dennis Horley, who arrived in Maryland in 1668 [5]
Horley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Horley, aged 20, who landed in New York, NY in 1774 [5]
  • Adam Horley, aged 11, who arrived in New York, NY in 1774 [5]
Horley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel Horley, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1860 [5]

Australia Horley migration to Australia +

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

Horley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Horley, aged 28, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Emily" [6]
  • Charles Horley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Asiatic" in 1849 [7]

New Zealand Horley 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:

Horley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Alfred Horley, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "John Scott" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 7th March 1858 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Horley (post 1700) +

  • Charles "Charlie" Henry Horley (1860-1924), English rugby union footballer who played for England in 1885; he won a cap for England while at Swinton in 1885 against Ireland

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. John George Thomas Horley, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [9]


The Horley 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.


  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The EMILY 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Emily.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ASIATIC 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Asiatic.htm
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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