Riseley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Riseley surname lived in the region of Risley in Bedfordshire. Riseley is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. In this case, these place names are all derived from the Old English words hri-s, meaning "brush wood," and leah, which meant "a clearing."

Early Origins of the Riseley family

The surname Riseley was first found in Bedfordshire, at Riseley, a village and civil parish that dates back to at least the Domesday Book where it was listed as Riselai. [1] and mentioned at least 6 times, all in the same shire. At that time it was part of the Stodden hundred, land held by the Bishop of Coutances and 2 Frenchmen and 6 Englishmen held 6 hides for the bishop. [2] Risley Hall at Risley, Derbyshire dates back to the 11th century and is now a hotel and spa set in 17 acres. One of the first listings of the name was Sir Raulfe Risley of Chetwood (fl. 1247.)

Early History of the Riseley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Riseley research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1952, 1630, 1716, 1670, 1649 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Riseley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Riseley Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Riseley are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Riseley include: Riseley, Risley, Reasley, Reeasly and others.

Early Notables of the Riseley family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Reverend Thomas Risley (1630-1716), an English Presbyterian minister who founded the Thomas Risley Chapel. Born at Newton-in-Makerfield, and baptised on 20 Sept. at Newchurch...
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Riseley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Riseley migration to Australia +

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

Riseley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Maria Riseley, (Lord), (b. 1780), aged 24, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Exmouth" on 2nd January 1804, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1859 [3]
  • Miss Mary Riseley, English convict who was convicted in Chester, Cheshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Buffalo" on 4th May 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]

New Zealand Riseley 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:

Riseley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Riseley, (b. 1830), aged 34, British carpenter travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th March 1864 [5]
  • Mrs. Jane E Riseley, (b. 1833), aged 31, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th March 1864 [5]
  • Mr. Joseph Riseley, (b. 1855), aged 9, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th March 1864 [5]
  • Miss Catherine J Riseley, (b. 1857), aged 7, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th March 1864 [5]
  • Miss Sophia Riseley, (b. 1858), aged 6, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th March 1864 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Riseley (post 1700) +

  • Martin Riseley (b. 1969), Canadian (New Zealand born) violinist and concertmaster of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
  • Frank Lorymer Riseley (1877-1959), British tennis player, two time winner of the Wimbledon Doubles Championship


The Riseley 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: Fato prudentia major
Motto Translation: Prudence is greater than fate.


  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th May 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/experiment
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/buffalo
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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