Orkley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Early Origins of the Orkley family
The surname Orkley was first found in Northumberland at Horsley, a township, in the parish of Ovingham, about 9 miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. There is also a parish named Horsley, in Gloucestershire and another parish, so named in Derbyshire.
"In the reign of Henry III., Malveysin de Hercy, doubtless a descendant of the Hercy, of the Battle Roll, was Constable of Tykhill. He acquired by his marriage with Theophania, daughter and coheir of Gilbert de Arches, the estate of Grove, Nottinghamshire, and became ancestor of the Hercys of that place; and also of the Hercys of Cruchfield, Berkshire, now represented by John Hercy, Esq. of Cruchfield." 
The parish of Horsey-next-the-Sea in Norfolk is another likely source of the name  
The name is derived from the Old English words "hors" + "leah," and literally means "clearing or pasture where horses are kept."  The parishes in Derbyshire and Gloucestershire were both listed as Horselei in the Domesday Book in 1086. 
At one time the family held a manor in Long Horsley. "The manor was at an early period the property of the Merlays; after them the Greystocks held it; and the Horsleys possessed lands here from an early period, till their heiress married into the family of Widdrington." 
Some of the first records of the family include: William de Horseia who was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Hampshire in 1182; William de Horseye, found in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1268 and John atte Horsee, listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Surrey in 1332. 
Thomas de Horseye was Bailiff of Yarmouth in 1269  and the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Alicia de Horsey, Norfolk; and Mathew de Horseye, Norfolk. 
In Somerset, John de Horsy was listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) 
In Scotland, the Horsley variant was prevalent as in "Richard de Horsleye of the county of Lanark, who rendered homage in 1296 most probably derived his surname from Horsley in Northumberland. The lands of the Horsselys in Lanarkshire are recorded as forfeited in 1369." 
Early History of the Orkley family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Orkley research. Another 62 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1546, 1583, 1573, 1627, 1547, 1550 and 1626 are included under the topic Early Orkley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Orkley Spelling Variations
The name Orkley, appeared in many references, and from time to time, the surname was spelt Horsley, Horsey, de Horsey, O'Horsey and others.
Early Notables of the Orkley family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Sir John Horsey (died 1546), knight of Henry VIII and Lord of the Manor of Clifton Maubank.
Sir Edward Horsey (d. 1583), was a naval and military commander, a member of a family of considerable note in Dorsetshire, connected with Clifton Maubank (now Maybank), Wyke in Sherborne, and Melcombe Horsey, was the son of Jasper Horsey of Exton, who was brother of Sir John Horsey. 
Sir Jerome Horsey (fl. 1573-1627), was an English traveller, son of...
Another 85 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Orkley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Orkley family to Ireland
Some of the Orkley 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.
Migration of the Orkley family
The New World beckoned as many of the settlers in Ireland, known as the Scotch/Irish, became disenchanted. They sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. Some called them, less romantically, the "coffin ships." Amongst the early settlers who could be considered kinsmen of the Orkley family, or who bore a variation of the surname Orkley were Joseph and Jane Horsley settled in Virginia in 1652; John Horsey settled in New England in 1665; Thomas and Mary Horsey settled in Boston in 1766.
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- Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print