Otley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Otley is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from a family once having lived in the parish of Oteley found in the counties of Shropshire, Suffolk and the West Riding of Yorkshire. Otley is derived from the Old English elements "ote," or "oats" and "leah," meaning "a clearing." [1]

Early Origins of the Otley family

The surname Otley was first found in Suffolk where the first record of the family was found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 as Richard de Otteleye. Kirby's Quest lists "Henry Otleghe, Somerset, Edward III" [2] (Henry Otleghe held lands in Somerset during the reign of Edward III.)

Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Mary Henry Hotlay as living there at that time. [3]

Early History of the Otley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Otley research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1434, 1716, 1601, 1649, 1643, 1644, 1646, 1626, 1670, 1661 and 1723 are included under the topic Early Otley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Otley Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Otley has been recorded under many different variations, including Ottley, Otley, Oatley, Oteley, Oatly and others.

Early Notables of the Otley family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Francis Ottley (1601-1649), English Royalist knight, military governor of Shrewsbury in 1643 and later High Sheriff of Shropshire (1644-1646)...
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Otley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Otley migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Otley or a variant listed above:

Otley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Otley, who is on record in Virginia in 1618
  • Abraham and Adam Otley, who both arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1641
  • Abraham Otley, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1641 [4]
  • Adam Otley, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1641 [4]
  • David Otley, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Otley 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:

Otley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Ann Otley (Orley), (b. 1839), aged 23, English settler, from Middlesex travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of Mersey" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 20th October 1862 [5]
  • Mr. John Otley (Orley), (b. 1840), aged 22, English bricklayer, from Middlesex travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of Mersey" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 20th October 1862 [5]
  • William Otley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ida Zeigler" in 1863

Contemporary Notables of the name Otley (post 1700) +

  • Jonatha Otley (1766-1856), English topographer and geologist
  • Henry Otley Beyer (1883-1966), American anthropologist


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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