Show ContentsRolley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Rolley is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived in the village of Raleigh in the county of Devon. This place-name was originally derived from the Old English ra leah meaning a meadow for deer. [1]

Early Origins of the Rolley family

The surname Rolley was first found in Devon where one of the first records of the name was William de Raley (or William de Ralegh or William Raleigh) (died 1250) a medieval judge, administrator and bishop. Born in Devon, he became Bishop of Winchester, "but it is doubtful to which of the four branches of the Devonshire Raleighs he belonged. In 1212 he was presented by King John to the church of Bratton, and was employed in judicial business in Lincolnshire and Cumberland in 1226-1227." [2]

"According to Fuller, they derived their name from 'a well-known town' in that county. I cannot discover any town, or even village, so called." [3]

However another source provides more clues about the bishop's origin: "Ralegh, Bishop of Winchester, 1244, was born at Ralegh, in the parish of Pilton, the original seat of this famous family. " [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list the following: Hugh de Ralegh in Devon; and Warin de Raleghe in Somerset. [5]

Early History of the Rolley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rolley research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1552, 1586, 1597, 1600, 1605, 1618, 1626, 1641, 1646, 1659 and 1666 are included under the topic Early Rolley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rolley Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Rolley family name include Raleigh, Rawleigh, Rawley, Rawle, Rawles and others.

Early Notables of the Rolley family

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), a court favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, known for his expeditions to the New World; and his second son, Walter Raleigh or Ralegh (1586-1646), an English divine, Dean of Wells from 1641 until his death in a scuffle; and Carew Raleigh or Ralegh (1605-1666), first son of Sir Walter Raleigh...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rolley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Rolley family to Ireland

Some of the Rolley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 97 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Rolley family

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Rolley surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Sarah Rawleigh settled with her husband in Virginia in 1663; Mary Rawles settled in Virginia in 1653; Elizabeth Rawleigh settled in Pennsylvania in 1772.

Contemporary Notables of the name Rolley (post 1700) +

  • Otis France Rolley (b. 1974), American 7th Director of Planning for the City of Baltimore, Maryland (2003-2007)
  • Claude Rolley (1933-2007), French archaeologist, emeritus at the University of Burgundy

HMAS Sydney II

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from on Facebook