Show ContentsOlley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Olley surname is generally thought to derive from a place name, perhaps Pont Doylly, or Duilly in Normandy. Alternatively, the Oyler, Ollier and similar spellings could have been derived from the English occupational name for an extractor or seller of oil having derived from the Anglo-Norman French word "olier" from "oile." In northern England linseed oil was commonly derived from flax and used as a substitute for olive oil. [1]

Early Origins of the Olley family

The surname Olley was first found in Oxfordshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [2] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Eynsham held by Columban, a Norman noble as under tenant of the Bishop of Lincoln who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086. His overlord was Robert d'Ouilli.

Early History of the Olley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Olley research. Another 182 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1071, 1073, 1120, 1129, 1354, 1542, 1573, 1576, 1577, 1585, 1605, 1614, 1616, 1633, 1640, 1641, 1663, 1666, 1677, 1709 and 1815 are included under the topic Early Olley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Olley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Doyley, D'Oyley, Doyle, D'Oyle, Doylee, Doley, Duley, Duly, Duely, Dueley, Ollie, Oyler, Oylie, D'Oyly, Olley, Oulley, Oullie, Ollie, Owley, Oyly, Oilli, Oiley, L'Oyle and many more.

Early Notables of the Olley family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas D'Oyley (fl. 1585), English antiquary, the second son of Sir Henry D'Oyly, knight, of Pondhall in the parish of Hadleigh, Suffolk; Robert D'Oyley (1542-1577) of Hambleden, Buckinghamshire, who was Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1573; and Sir Cope Doyley (d. 1633), who inherited Hambleden Manor, Buckinghamshire in...
Another 54 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Olley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Australia Olley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Olley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Olley, aged 20, a farmer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Trafalgar" [3]
  • Samuel Olley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1849 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Olley (post 1700) +

  • Michele Olley, American Republican politician, Candidate for Wisconsin State Senate 21st District, 1978 [4]
  • Martin William Charles Olley (b. 1963), former English cricketer who played from 1983 to 1991
  • Flying Officer Gordon Percy Olley MM (1893-1958), English First World War flying ace, the first pilot to fly a million miles in total
  • Chris Olley, English musician and photographer, the lead singer and guitarist for Six By Seven
  • Michelle Olley, British writer, journalist and magazine and book editor
  • Jonathan Olley (b. 1967), British photographer
  • Kenneth Olley, New Zealand former footballer who played from the New Zealand National Team in 1954
  • Frank Olley (1927-1988), Australian politician, Member of the Australian Parliament for Hume (1972-1974)
  • Margaret Hannah Olley AC (1923-2011), Australian painter who held over 90 solo exhibitions

  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The TRAFALGAR 1849. Retrieved from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, March 16) . Retrieved from on Facebook