Merley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Merley name is habitational, derived from any of the several places so named; such as Morley in Cheshire, Derbyshire, County Durham, Norfolk, and West Yorkshire, and Moreleigh in Devon. These place names come from the Old English words "mor," meaning "marsh" and "le-ah," meaning "a clearing in the woods." 
Early Origins of the Merley family
The surname Merley was first found in Derbyshire at Morley, a parish, in the union of Belper, hundred of Morleston and Litchurch. 
"In [the] Domesday Survey this place is described as one of the manors of Henry de Ferrers. In 1235 the manors of Morley and Smalley were held by the abbot of Chester as of the fee of Hugh, Earl of Chester; and Morley was afterwards held by a family who took their name from the place." 
Some of the family were found at Wennington in Lancashire in ancient times. "William de Wennington was in possession of the estate, which about the 4th of Edward III. (1330) passed to the family of Morley, of Great and Little Morley, with whom it remained until 1673." 
The township of Mearley in Lancashire played an important role in the family history. "The chief part of the township was granted by Jordan le Rous to Stephen, afterwards called de Merley, whose daughter married Adam de Nowell, and carried the Hall and manor into that family, 38th of Edward III." 
Some of the family were found in Yorkshire as the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 include: Johannes de Morelay; Adam de Morlay; and Margeria de Morlay as all holding lands there at that time. 
The Maulay variant has an interesting background. According to the Battell Abbey Roll, "the first who came to England was Peter de Maulay, a Poitevin, brought by King John, and distinctly accused by Ralph Niger and Henry Knighton of being the tool he employed for ridding himself of his nephew Arthur. Peter's reward was the heiress of Doncaster, Isabella de Turnham, who brought him the barony of Mulgrave. " 
Early History of the Merley family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merley research. Another 214 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1411, 1477, 1455, 1487, 1510, 1600, 1483, 1557, 1602, 1586, 1658, 1625, 1640, 1597, 1684, 1660, 1662, 1662, 1684, 1660, 1616, 1667, 1640 and 1667 are included under the topic Early Merley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Merley Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Merley are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Merley include: Morley, Mawley, Morely, Moorley, Maughley, Morleigh, Moorley and many more.
Early Notables of the Merley family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include Thomas Morley (1557-1602) English organist, church composer, madrigalist, editor, and music printer from Norwich; Sir William Morley (c.1586-1658), a Member of Parliament for Guildford (1625-26), Member of Parliament for Chichester (1640-42), supported the Royalist cause in the English Civil War; George Morley...
Migration of the Merley family to Ireland
Some of the Merley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Migration of the Merley family
Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Merley or a variant listed above: Catherine Morley, who came to Salem in 1630; Henry Morley, who arrived in Virginia in 1635; Robert Morley, who arrived in Virginia in 1653; Charles Morley, who arrived in Virginia in 1658.