Skilly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought much change to the island nation, including many immigrants with new names. Among these immigrants were the ancestors of the Skilly family, who lived in Devon. Ancient records reveal the name Skilly is derived from the Old English word saelig, meaning one who is happy and blessed.
Early Origins of the Skilly family
The surname Skilly was first found in Devon where they were granted lands by William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. They were Lords of the manor of Rackenford, and were conjecturally descended from Jocelyn who held the lands at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086 A.D. from Baldwin, the Sheriff. The family may have originated in Cornwall as in "John Silly, gentleman of St. Wenn, altered his name from Ceely to Silly."  No dates were given with the previous quote. However, we did find another note about the family in the parish of Helland, Cornwall. "Another barton called Kernick, which was for some time the residence of a family called Silly, became the property of Sir John Morshead." 
One of the earliest records of the name was Henry de Sully (or Soilli) (died 1195), was a medieval monk, prior of Bermondsey Abbey in 1186, Bishop of Worcester (1193-1195) and Abbot of Glastonbury.
William, Count of Sully, also known as William the Simple (c. 1085-c. 1150) was Count of Blois and Count of Chartres from 1102 to 1107, and jure uxoris Count of Sully. William was the eldest son of Stephen-Henry, Count of Blois and Adela of Normandy, daughter of William the Conqueror. In 1104, William married Agnes of Sully, the heiress to the lordship of Sully-sur-Loire. Together they had six children including Henry de Sully (died 1189), the medieval Abbot of Fécamp and Bishop-designate of Salisbury and Archbishop-elect of York in 1140.
Over in France, Maurice de Sully (died 1196) was Bishop of Paris from 1160 until his death. He is best known for overseeing the building of Notre Dame Catherdaral.
Early History of the Skilly family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Skilly research. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1361, 1283, 1388, 1680, 1729 and 1718 are included under the topic Early Skilly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Skilly Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Skilly were recorded, including Silley, Silly, Cele, Sully, Silliman and others.
Early Notables of the Skilly family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Sully (born c.1283-c.1388), of Ruxford and Iddesleigh in Devonshire, an English knight. The family were traditional lords of the manor of Iddesleigh in Devonshire. He was noted for giving evidence in Scrope v Grosvenor, one of the earliest heraldic law cases brought in England. At the time, it is claimed that his age was 105. Henry...
Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Skilly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Skilly family
The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Skilly arrived in North America very early: Edward Silley settled in Virginia in 1635; Sarah Silley settled in Maryland in 1737; Hugh and John Silly settled in Barbados in 1660; Thomas Silly landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1877.
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- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print