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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  3. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  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. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  9. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Sharpley Family Crest was acquired from the 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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