Morelay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Morelay 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 Morelay family
The surname Morelay 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 Morelay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Morelay 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 Morelay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Morelay Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Morelay were recorded, including Morley, Mawley, Morely, Moorley, Maughley, Morleigh, Moorley and many more.
Early Notables of the Morelay 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...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Morelay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Morelay family to Ireland
Some of the Morelay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 101 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Morelay family
To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Morelay family emigrate to North America: 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.
Related Stories +
- ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3