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

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

The Atlantic Ocean to the north and west and the English Channel to the south borders Cornwall, the homeland to the Sharpley family name. Even though the usage of surnames was common during the Middle Ages, all English people were known only by a single name in early times. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Sharpley family originally lived in Yorkshire, at Shipley.


Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Sharpley, Shapley, Shapleigh, Sharply, Shapell, Shaple, Sharple and many more.

First found in the county of Cornwall where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sharpley research. Another 173 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 120 and 1200 are included under the topic Early Sharpley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Sharpley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Sharpley:

Sharpley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Alexander Sharpley, who landed in Maine in 1635

Sharpley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Charles Sharpley settled in Boston in 1765
  • James Sharpley settled in New England in 1775

Sharpley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Sharpley, who arrived in America in 1803

Sharpley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Susan Sharpley, aged 20, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Australia"
  • James Sharpley, aged 26, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Stamboul"


  • Kate Sharpley (1895-1978), English anti-World War I activist, eponym of the Kate Sharpley Library


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  1. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  4. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  5. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  6. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  9. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  10. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Sharpley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sharpley 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 28 May 2014 at 13:19.

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