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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Scottish


The Morley 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 Morley 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] 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]

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Morley has undergone many spelling 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 Morley 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 Morley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 177 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Morley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Morley were among those contributors:

Morley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Catherine Morley, who came to Salem in 1630
  • Henry Morley, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Henry Morley, aged 25, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Symon Morley, who landed in Virginia in 1636
  • Walter Morley, who landed in Maryland in 1638


Morley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Mary Morley, a convict sent to America in 1749
  • Ann Morley, who settled in America in 1766
  • Isabella Morley, who settled with her husband in Boston in 1767

Morley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Luke Morley, who landed in New York in 1831
  • George Morley, aged 29, arrived in Alabama in 1855
  • Frederick, John, Michael, Thomas, and William Morley, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Valentine Morley, who arrived in Mississippi in 1860

Morley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Morley, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Thomas Morley, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Samuel Morley, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • James Morley, aged 25, a miner, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Prince Regent"
  • James Morley, aged 50, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Himalaya"


Morley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • George Morley, aged 21, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Eliza Morley, aged 18, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Richard Morley arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "William Watson" in 1859
  • Henry Morley, aged 57, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ambrosine" in 1860
  • Susan Morley, aged 48, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ambrosine" in 1860


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  • Thomas R. Morley (1930-2016), American candy executive, President and Chairman of Morley Candy Company
  • Sylvanus Morley (1883-1948), American archaeologist, epigrapher and Mayanist scholar
  • Felix Morley (1894-1982), American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
  • Edward Williams Morley (1838-1923), American chemist
  • Christopher Darlington Morley (1890-1958), American journalist, novelist, and poet
  • Mr. William Morley (1875-1914), English Miner from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom who worked in the Hillcrest Coal Mine, Alberta, Canada and died in the mine collapse on June 19 1914
  • Mr. William Morley (d. 1912), aged 34, English Third Class passenger from Petworth, West Sussex who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Henry Samuel Morley (d. 1912), (alias Mr. Henry Marshall), aged 38, English Second Class passenger from Birmingham, Worcester who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Trevor Grahame Anthony Morley (1933-2013), English cricketer
  • Frank Morley (1860-1937), English mathematician

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  • The Morleys-Young Upstarts on the Southwest Frontier by Norman Cleaveland.
  • Ancestors And Descendants of Timothy Crosby Jr. by Paul Wesley Prindle.
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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  2. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  5. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  11. ...

The Morley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Morley 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 7 March 2016 at 15:36.

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