Medley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Medley family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Medley comes from when the family lived in place name Madeley ( Staffordshire and Shropshire), Medley in Oxfordshire [1] or a Madely in Gloucestershire. [2] The reason for the multiple local names is because the name generally means "woodland clearing of a man called Mada," from the Old English personal name + "leah." [3]

The one exception is Madeley-Market in Shropshire where "the name of this town indicates its situation between two rivers, and the adjunct arose from the grant of a market here, in the time of Henry III., to a community of Cluniac monks at Wenlock, to whom Madeley belonged." [4] Madley is a small parish, in the union of Dore, hundred of Webtree, in Herefordshire. [4]

Of all the locals, the Staffordshire parish is the oldest as it dates back to Saxon times when it was known as Madanlieg in 975. Both the Staffordshire and Shropshire parishes were entered in the Domesday Book of 1086 and were both listed as Madelie. [5]

Early Origins of the Medley family

The surname Medley was first found in Somerset where Simon atte Middele was listed there 1 Edward I (during the first year of the reign of King Edward I.) [6]

Later Thomas Medlay was listed in Yorkshire in 1419 and Benedict Medley was listed in the Feet of Fines for Warwickshire in 1496. [2]

Early History of the Medley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Medley research. Another 168 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1100, 1167, 1563, 1504, 1672, 1578, 1792, 1747, 1703, 1706, 1709, 1710, 1710, 1717, 1720, 1720, 1721, 1722, 1728, 1731, 1735, 1741, 1742, 1744 and 1744 are included under the topic Early Medley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Medley Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Medley has appeared include Medley, Medleigh, Madley, Madleigh, Medlie, Medlee and many more.

Early Notables of the Medley family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Henry Medley (d. 1747), British Vice-Admiral who entered the navy in 1703; was in 1706 a midshipman of the Somerset with Captain Price at the relief of Barcelona; passed his examination on 8 Feb. 1709-1710 (passing certificate); and on 5 Sept. 1710 was promoted by Sir John Norris to be Lieutenant of the Fame, from which a few months later he was moved into the Stirling Castle. In 1717 he was a lieutenant of the Barfleur, flagship of Sir George Byng in the Baltic. Early in 1720 he was promoted to the command of the...
Another 131 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Medley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Medley Ranking

In the United States, the name Medley is the 2,191st most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [7]


United States Medley migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Medley arrived in North America very early:

Medley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Medley, who landed in Maryland in 1633-1641 [8]
  • Robert and John Medley, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Elizabeth Medley, who landed in Maryland in 1638 [8]
  • Robert Medley, who landed in Virginia in 1641 [8]
  • William Medley, who arrived in Virginia in 1650 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Medley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • A G Medley, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [8]

Australia Medley migration to Australia +

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

Medley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Medley, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Marshall Bennett" [9]
  • Susannah Medley, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Flora" [10]

New Zealand Medley 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:

Medley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Hephzibah Medley, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of the Avon" in 1863
  • Florence Medley, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of the Avon" in 1863
  • Laura Medley, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of the Avon" in 1863
  • Ernest Medley, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of the Avon" in 1863

West Indies Medley migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [11]
Medley Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. John Medley, (b. 1609), aged 26, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Expedition" arriving in Barbados in 1636 [12]
  • Roger Medley, who settled in Barbados in 1672

Contemporary Notables of the name Medley (post 1700) +

  • William Francis Medley (b. 1952), American Roman Catholic clergyman, Bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro, former priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville
  • Philip "Phil" Medley (1916-1997), American songwriter, best known for his song "Twist & Shout"
  • Linda Medley (b. 1964), American comic book author and illustrator
  • William Thomas "Bill" Medley (b. 1940), American singer and songwriter, best known as one half of The Righteous Brothers singing duo
  • Z. A. Medley, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Tennessee, 1944 [13]
  • W. C. Medley, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arkansas, 1948 [13]
  • T. W. Medley, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Mexico, 1912 [13]
  • Luke Medley, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Tennessee, 1960; Mayor of Cookeville, Tennessee, 1963 [13]
  • Leila Medley, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Democratic National Committee from Missouri, 2008; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Missouri, 2008 [13]
  • Lee Medley, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 2008 [13]
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Albert V Medley, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [14]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Bertie Medley (1916-1939), British Leading Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [15]


The Medley 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: In deo fides
Motto Translation: Faith in God


  1. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  6. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ South Australian Register Friday 29 April 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Marshall Bennett 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/marshallbennett1853.shtml.
  10. ^ South Australian Register Monday 9th April 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Flora 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/flora1855.shtml
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  15. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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