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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Irish

Manley is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Manley family lived in the places named Manley in Cheshire. The place-name was originally derived from the Old English word moene, which means common or shared, and leah, which means wood or clearing. This surname is still found most frequently around the villages of Manley in Devon and Cheshire.


The surname Manley was first found in Cheshire at Manley, a village and civil parish in the union of Runcorn, Second division of the hundred of Eddisbury that dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Menlie. The place name literally means "common wood or clearing," having derived from the Old English words maene + leah. [1] The surname is ancient. In fact, the coat of arms described later in this history traces it's origin to a registration in the Battell Abbey Roll as one of the "companions in arms" of the Conqueror.

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Manley family name include Manley, Mandley, Mandly, Manly, Mannley and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Manley research. Another 263 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1157, 1520, 1622, 1699, 1659, 1672 and 1724 are included under the topic Early Manley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Manley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Manley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Manley family to immigrate North America:

Manley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Ralph Manley, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Roger Manley, who landed in Virginia in 1664

Manley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • George Manley, who arrived in Virginia in 1715

Manley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John Manley, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1847
  • Jethro Manley, who arrived in Ohio in 1849
  • Ellen Manley, aged 40, landed in New York in 1854
  • Patrick Manley, aged 13, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Edward, James, John, Joseph, Michael, Patrick, Richard, Thomas, and William Manley all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

Manley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Manley, a confectioner, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Elizabeth Manley, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Amphitrite" on August 21, 1833, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Samuel Manley, aged 29, a butcher, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Marshall Bennett"
  • Ann Manley, aged 22, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Mary Green"
  • Margaret Manley, aged 21, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Confiance"

  • Drinan Manley, aged 20, a farmer, arrived in New Plymouth aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850

Manley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Manley, aged 20, a tailor, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Countess of Kintore" in 1875
  • Emma Manley, aged 28, a cook, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Ruapehu" in 1887


  • William A. Manley, American politician, Mayor of Grafton, West Virginia, 1976-77
  • William Manley, American politician, Mayor of Brookfield, Missouri, 1951-52
  • Uriah Manley (d. 1864), American politician, Delegate to Illinois State Constitutional Convention Clark, Edgar and Coles counties, 1847
  • Robert L. Manley, American Republican politician, Member of Massachusetts State House of Representatives Ninth Bristol District, 1923-24
  • Robert E. Manley (1876-1958), American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, 1930
  • McLellan Joseph Manley, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for U.S. Representative from Michigan 14th District, 1940
  • Robert Manley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1996
  • Lucius N. Manley, American Republican politician, Candidate for Mayor of Long Island City, New York, 1892; Delegate to New York State Constitutional Convention 1st District, 1894
  • Louis K. Manley, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 35th District, 1922
  • Lawrence T. Manley, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Bradford County, 1897-1900



  • My Husband's Folk the Manlys and Galloways and Allied Famili.
  • by Elizabeth Cate Manly, Manley Family : New England and New York, 1650-19.
  • by Henry Sackett Manley.

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: Manus haec inimica tyrannis
Motto Translation: This hand is hostile to tyrants.


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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  2. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Manley Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Manley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 29 March 2016 at 22:15.

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