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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Pulley family come from? What is the English Pulley family crest and coat of arms? When did the Pulley family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Pulley family history?

The name Pulley is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It was name for a young buck; it is derived from the Old French word poulain, which meant colt. This nickname would have been given to a person given over to friskiness and possessed of a certain nervous energy in much the same way a young horse is. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character. Often nicknames described strong traits or attributes that people wished to emulate in a specific animal. In the pre-Christian era, many pagan gods and demigods were believed to be a mixture of animals and humans, such as the Greek god Pan who was the god of flocks and herds and was represented as a man with the legs, horns and ears of a goat. In the Middle Ages, anthropomorphic ideas, which attributed human qualities and form to gods or animals, were held about the characters of other living creatures. They were based on the creature's habits. Moreover, these associations were reflected in folk-tales, mythology, and legends which portrayed animals behaving as humans.


Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Pulley have been found, including Pulleine, Pullen, Pullan, Pulleyn, Pulling and many more.

First found in Yorkshire but one of the earliest record of the name was Robert Pullen (died 1146), an English theologian and official of the Roman Catholic Church. He is generally thought to have been born in Poole, Devonshire and first educated in England. He was Archdeacon of Rochester in 1134, Shortly after this appointment, he went to Paris. There, he taught logic and theology tutoring John of Salisbury, who describes him as a man commended both by his life and his learning in 1141. Back in France, we found that John and Ivo Polain were listed in Normandy (1185-1190.) A few years later nine of the name were listed there in 1198 [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pulley research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1690, 1598 and 1667 are included under the topic Early Pulley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 59 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pulley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Pulley, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were:

Pulley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Pulley, who landed in Maryland in 1660

Pulley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • John Pulley, who arrived in New England in 1737

Pulley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Pulley, English convict from Norfolk, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Samuel Pulley, aged 50, a shoemaker, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad"
  • George Pulley, aged 20, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad"
  • Samuel Pulley, aged 14, a butcher, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad"
  • Elizabeth Pulley, aged 16, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad"


  • Emily Ann Pulley (b. 1967), American opera soprano who has performed in more than 150 operas
  • Gerald P. Pulley (1922-2011), American photographer noted for his work with the United States Navy
  • Curtis Pulley (b. 1986), former American football quarterback for the Florida A&M University Rattlers, he was the 2004 Kentucky Mr. Football
  • Andrew Pulley, American politician
  • Sir Joseph Pulley (1822-1901), 1st Baronet, was an English Liberal politician
  • Gordon Albert Pulley (b. 1936), English former professional football player
  • Charles Thornton Pulley (1864-1947), British Conservative Party politician, Member of Parliament for Ross (1918) and Hereford (1918-1920)


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: Nulla pallescere culpa
Motto Translation: To turn pale from no crime.


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  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)

Other References

  1. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  2. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  11. ...

The Pulley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Pulley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 31 January 2015 at 18:22.

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