Show ContentsMunnelly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Munnelly is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Munnelly 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 Munnelly family

The surname Munnelly 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 Munnelly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Munnelly 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 Munnelly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Munnelly Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Manley, Mandley, Mandly, Manly, Mannley and others.

Early Notables of the Munnelly 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 Munnelly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Munnelly family to Ireland

Some of the Munnelly 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.

New Zealand Munnelly migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Munnelly Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Munnelly, (b. 1837), aged 26, British farm labourer travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [8]
  • Miss Sarah Munnelly, (b. 1838), aged 25, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Munnelly (post 1700) +

  • John P. Munnelly, American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster at Omaha, Nebraska, 1961-83 (acting, 1961-63) [9]
  • James F. Munnelly (b. 1922), American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Nebraska, 1964; Member of Nebraska railway commission 2nd District, 1967- [9]
  • Martin Munnelly (b. 1969), retired American soccer midfielder
  • John Munnelly (d. 1941), Irish Fianna Fáil politician
  • Ross Munnelly, Irish Gaelic footballer
  • Tom Munnelly (1944-2007), Irish archivist and collector of the classic ballads and traditional stories of Irish folklore
  • Michael Joseph Munnelly GC (1941-1964), posthumously awarded the George Cross for his gallantry
  • William Munnelly, Canadian wine critics and self-publisher

The Munnelly 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. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from on Facebook