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The Moorley 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."

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The surname Moorley was first found in Derbyshire at Morley, a parish, in the union of Belper, hundred of Morleston and Litchurch. "In 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." [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
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." [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Moorley has been recorded under many different variations, including Morley, Mawley, Morely, Moorley, Maughley, Morleigh, Moorley and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Moorley research. Another 427 words (30 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 Moorley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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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...

Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Moorley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Moorley 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.

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Citations



  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  11. ...

The Moorley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Moorley 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 February 2016 at 15:10.

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