Ripley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Ripley is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived in the village of Ripley found in various locations in England including Yorkshire. The surname was originally derived from the Old English words ripel meaning strip of land and leah meaning wood. Thus the original bearers of the surname lived in the area that was defined by a strip of land by the forest. [1]

The Domesday Book of 1086 included entries for: Ripelei (Derbyshire), Riple (Hampshire) and Ripeleia (Yorkshire.) [2]

Interestingly "the chapel, [in Ripley, Surrey] which appears to have been founded about the end of the 12th century, is, in a record of the time of Edward II., called the oratory of Ripelia or Ripellee; and in the 2nd of Edward VI. seems to have been regarded as a chantry chapel." [3]

Early Origins of the Ripley family

The surname Ripley was first found in Yorkshire at Ripley. "This place was anciently the property of the Ripley family, by marriage with whose heiress, about the latter part of the fourteenth century, it was conveyed to Sir Thomas Ingilby, whose descendant, William, was created a Baronet in 1642: the title, becoming extinct, was revived in 1781, and has passed to Sir William Amcots Ingilby, the present owner of the estate. During the parliamentary war, Ripley Castle was visited after the battle of Marston-Moor by Oliver Cromwell, who passed one night here; it was originally built in 1555, and having been much enlarged and improved during the present century, is a handsome castellated mansion, finely situated in a demesne tastefully laid out. " [3]

"The Ripleys were mayors of Ripon in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. The name is now scarce. " [4]

In Scotland the family is generally believed to have descended from the Yorkshire branch. Here we found: "Bernaidus de Rippeley witnessed the gift by Alexander II of ten marks annually to the Abbey of Arbroath in 1247 (RAA., I, p. 202), and in 1249 he witnessed a charter de Werenna de Muskilburg (Musselbergh) to the monks of Dunfermline. He also witnessed confirmation of the gift of the lands of Prendergest to the monks of Coldingham in the reign of Alexander II. Willelmus de Rypeley is mentioned in a charter of 1279 as the progenitor of Sir William de Dolays (Dallas), and as having held the lands of Dolays Mykel under a grant of confirmation of William the Lion." [5]

Early rolls include the following early spellings: Bernard Rippeley in Yorkshire, 1175-1183; Roger Rippeley in Northumberland in 1242; and Richard Rypplay in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls in 1381. [6] The later rolls also include: Matilda de Riplay in 1379. [7]

Early History of the Ripley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ripley research. Another 60 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1490, 1400, 1682, 1758 and 1721 are included under the topic Early Ripley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ripley Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Ripley has been spelled many different ways, including Ripley, Rippley, Rippley, Rippleigh, Ripleigh, Riplea and many more.

Early Notables of the Ripley family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: George Ripley (died 1490), and English alchemist, born at Ripley in Yorkshire. However, this branch seems to have become extinct during the fifteenth century. The alchemist Ripley has been confused with George (or Gregory) Ripley (d. 1400?), a Carmelite friar of Boston, and author of lives of St. Botolph and John of...
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ripley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ripley Ranking

In the United States, the name Ripley is the 3,794th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [8]

United States Ripley migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Ripleys to arrive in North America:

Ripley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Ripley, who settled in Hingham Massachusetts in 1630
  • William, Mary, Sarah and John Ripley who, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1638
  • William Ripley, who landed in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1638 [9]
  • Mr. William Ripley, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Dilligent" arriving in Boston, Massachusetts in 1638 [10]
  • Mrs. Ripley, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Dilligent" arriving in Boston, Massachusetts in 1638 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ripley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Professor Ripley was one of the founders and a prominent member of the Dartmouth College of New England in the 1770's
  • William Ripley, who settled in Carolina in 1774
Ripley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas B Ripley, aged 22, who landed in Virginia in 1813 [9]
  • James W Ripley, aged 30, who arrived in America in 1822 [9]
  • John Ripley, who arrived in Tippecanoe County, Ind in 1843 [9]
  • James and William Ripley, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1860
  • Sylvester Ripley, aged 42, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1868 [9]

Canada Ripley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ripley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Elias Ripley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Jane Ripley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Mary Ripley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Tobel Ripley, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774

Australia Ripley migration to Australia +

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

Ripley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Jeremiah Ripley, British convict who was convicted in York, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 19th November 1827, settling in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. John Ripley who was convicted in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Duchess of Northumberland" on 1st October 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [12]

New Zealand Ripley 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:

Ripley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. W.F. Ripley, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th August 1856 [13]
  • William Ripley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1864
  • Ann Ripley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1864
  • Mary H. Ripley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1864
  • Lydia Ripley, aged 33, a housemaid, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Celestial Queen" in 1872

Contemporary Notables of the name Ripley (post 1700) +

  • General Eleazer Wheelock Ripley (1782-1839), American graduate of Dartmouth College, distinguished Brigadier General in the War of 1812, and a U. S. Representative from Louisiana from 1835 until 1839
  • Alexandra Ripley (1934-2004), American writer, best known as the author of Scarlett (1991), written as a sequel to Gone with the Wind
  • Allen Ripley (1952-2014), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1978 to 1982
  • Alice Ripley (b. 1963), American Tony award and Helen Hayes Award winning actress, singer, songwriter, and mixed media artist
  • Arthur Ripley (1897-1961), American screenwriter, editor, producer and director, known for Voice in the Wind (1944) and The Chase (1946)
  • James Wolfe Ripley (1794-1870), American Brigadier General in the Union Army during the Civil War
  • Edward Payson Ripley (1845-1920), American railroad executive, fourteenth president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
  • Colonel John Walter Ripley (1939-2008), American Marine awarded the Navy Cross and Silver Star for his combat actions during the Vietnam War. He earned the "Quad Body" distinction for making it through four of the toughest military training programs in the world: the Army Rangers, Marine reconnaissance, Army Airborne and Britain's Royal Marines [14]
  • George Ripley (1802-1880), American social reformer, Unitarian, and Transcendentalist
  • Sidney Dillon Ripley (1913-2001), noted American ornithologist and leader in wildlife conservation. He served as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 1964 to 1984
  • ... (Another 29 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. C Ripley, British Sub Lieutenant Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking [15]

Suggested Readings for the name Ripley +

  • With Pen of Sword: Lives and Times of the Remarkable Rutland Ripleys by Robert G. Steele.

  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  8. ^
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 6th 2021, retrieved from
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th January 2020). Retrieved from
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th July 2021). Retrieved from
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  14. ^ John Ripley. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) John Ripley. Retrieved from
  15. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook