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


The name Munley arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Munley family lived in the places named Manley in Cheshire. The place-name was originally derived from the Old English word moene, which means common or shared, and leah, which means wood or clearing. This surname is still found most frequently around the villages of Manley in Devon and Cheshire.

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The surname Munley was first found in Cheshire at Manley, a village and civil parish in the union of Runcorn, Second division of the hundred of Eddisbury that dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Menlie. The place name literally means "common wood or clearing," having derived from the Old English words maene + leah. [1] The surname is ancient. In fact, the coat of arms described later in this history traces it's origin to a registration in the Battell Abbey Roll as one of the "companions in arms" of the Conqueror.

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Manley, Mandley, Mandly, Manly, Mannley and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Munley research. Another 263 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1157, 1520, 1622, 1699, 1659, 1672 and 1724 are included under the topic Early Munley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Munley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Munley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Munley or a variant listed above were:

Munley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Walter Munley, aged 26, who emigrated to America from Glasgow, in 1906
  • Elize W. Munley, aged 35, who emigrated to the United States, in 1909
  • Bridget Munley, aged 20, who emigrated to America from Belmuller, Ireland, in 1909
  • Kate Munley, aged 19, who landed in America from Carrowtrasna, Ireland, in 1910
  • Patrick Munley, aged 21, who emigrated to the United States from Killalu, Ireland, in 1912


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  • Julia K. Munley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1996
  • Francis E. Munley, American Democrat politician, Mayor of Fairview, New Jersey, 1944-45; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1944
  • James Martin Munley (b. 1936), United States federal judge


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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: Manus haec inimica tyrannis
Motto Translation: This hand is hostile to tyrants.

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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  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. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  7. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  9. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  10. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  11. ...

The Munley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Munley 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 15 December 2015 at 18:03.

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