Show ContentsMunley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. [1]

This surname is still found most frequently around the villages of Manley in Devon and Cheshire.

Early Origins of the Munley family

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. [2] The township dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was listed as Menlie. [3]

"The manor of Manley in Cheshire was possessed in the reign of Henry III. by a family who assumed the name of the township, and held it as mediate lords under the Dones of Crowton." [4]

This "family was an old one. Burke refers its origin to a 'Conqueror's follower' who appears as 'Manlay' in 'Battle Abbey Roll' (Holinshed, Chronicles, 1807, ii. 5). From the twelfth to the sixteenth century they resided in Chester, but in 1520 moved to Denbigh." [5]

Despite the aforementioned, we must look to Devon to find the first listing in early rolls. It is there that William de Manelegh listed in 1202. Over one hundred years later, in Yorkshire, we found Alexander and James Manly in the Assize Rolls of 1363. [6]

Cheshire proved to be stronghold of the family for centuries as the Wills at Chester listed Nicholas Manley, of Poulton, 1595, Ann Manley, of Chester, widow, 1618; and Thomas Manley, of Manley, husbandman, 1665. [7]

Early History of the Munley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Munley research. Another 162 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1157, 1520, 1621, 1629, 1622, 1699, 1659, 1672, 1724, 1672, 1688, 1626, 1688, 1628, 1640, 1646, 1655, 1655 and 1667 are included under the topic Early Munley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Munley Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Munley family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Manley (c 1622-1699), an English politician, Post Master General, Member of Parliament for Denbigh Boroughs in 1659; and Mary de la Riviere Manley (c1672-1724), an English writer, editor of The Examiner, probably best known for her two plays "The Lost Lover" and "The Royal Mischief." She was the daughter of Sir Roger Manley [q. v.], and was born about 1672 in Jersey, or, according to another version, at sea between Jersey and Guernsey. She lost her mother while she was young, and her father, who had literary tastes, does not appear to...
Another 269 words (19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Munley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Munley family to Ireland

Some of the Munley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Munley migration to the United States +

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 immigrated to America from Glasgow, in 1906
  • Elize W. Munley, aged 35, who immigrated to the United States, in 1909
  • Bridget Munley, aged 20, who immigrated 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 immigrated to the United States from Killalu, Ireland, in 1912
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Munley (post 1700) +

  • Julia K. Munley, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1996 [8]
  • Francis E. Munley, American Democratic Party politician, Mayor of Fairview, New Jersey, 1944-45; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1944 [8]
  • James Martin Munley (b. 1936), United States federal judge

The Munley Motto +

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.

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. 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
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from on Facebook