Presley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Presley date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence in or near a clearing in a wood owned by priests. Further research showed the name was derived from the Old English elements preost, which means priest, and leah, which means forest clearing. The name as a whole therefore means "dweller in or near the forest clearing owned by priests." [1] There are several places that have this name; they are found in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, and the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Early Origins of the Presley family

The surname Presley was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire where the "surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'of Priestley' (i.e the priest's meadow), some small estate in the near neighbourhood of Bradford." [2]

However, we must look to the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire to find the first record of the family. For it is there that Samson de Presteleia was listed in 1198. From this Latin version, the name had evolved to Richard de Presteley who was listed in Yorkshire in 1297. [1]

Kirby's Quest lists Walter Prestlegh in Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of Edward III's reign.) [3] Later, the following two entries were found at Hipperholme, near Bradford, Yorkshire during the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379: Elena de Presteley; and Johannes de Presteley. [2]

Another source agrees with the Yorkshire origin, but notes "the ancient seat and inheritance of the family was in Soyland and Sowerby, in the parish of Halifax." [4]

Early History of the Presley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Presley research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1733, 1804, 1700, 1779, 1739, 1733, 1777, 1661, 1745, 1742, 1764, 1734, 1814, 1734 and 1760 are included under the topic Early Presley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Presley Spelling Variations

Presley has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Presley have been found, including Priestley, Priestly, Preistley,Pressley and others.

Early Notables of the Presley family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), English theologian and man of science, eldest of six children of Jonas Priestley (1700-1779), a cloth-dresser, by his first wife, Mary (d. 1739), only child of Joseph Swift of Shafton, near Wakefield, was born at Fieldhead, a wayside farmhouse in the parish of Birstall, West Eiding of Yorkshire, on 13 March 1733. His father became bankrupt in 1777. Timothy Priestley [q. v.] was a younger brother. His parents were members of the congregational church at Upper Chapel, Heckmondwike; but his grandfather, Joseph Priestley (1661-1745), a woollen manufacturer, attended the parish church at...
Another 147 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Presley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Presley Ranking

In the United States, the name Presley is the 1,825th most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [5]

United States Presley migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Presleys to arrive on North American shores:

Presley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Presley, who landed in Maryland in 1658 [6]
  • Fran Presley, who arrived in Maryland in 1679 [6]
Presley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Presley, who landed in South Carolina in 1772 [6]
Presley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Presley, who arrived in Tippecanoe County, Ind in 1846 [6]
  • John Presley, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Presley (post 1700) +

  • Elvis Aron Presley (1935-1977), American rock singer, movie actor, and cultural idol, known as The King of Rock 'n' Roll
  • Lisa Marie Presley (1968-2023), American singer and songwriter, the only child of Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley
  • Alexander "Alex" C. Presley (b. 1985), American Major League Baseball outfielder
  • Wayne Presley (b. 1965), American retired professional NHL ice hockey right winger
  • Brian Joshua Presley (b. 1977), American actor
  • Priscilla Ann Presley (b. 1945), née Wagner, an American actress and businesswoman, ex-wife of singer Elvis Presley
  • Van Presley, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Minnesota 8th District, 2004 [7]
  • Russell Vern II Presley, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Virginia State House of Delegates 3rd District, 2011 [7]
  • Marion Presley, American Republican politician, Chair of Franklin County Republican Party, 2002; Mayor of West Frankfort, Illinois, 2007 [7]
  • Lawrence Presley, American Republican politician, Candidate for Missouri State Senate 3rd District, 1964 [7]
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Presley 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: Respice finem
Motto Translation: Regard the end.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from on Facebook