Show ContentsTapley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The illustrious surname Tapley finds its origin in the rocky, sea swept coastal area of southwestern England known as Cornwall. Although surnames were fairly widespread in medieval England, people were originally known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted is extremely interesting. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Lords and their tenants often became known by the name of the feudal territory they owned or lived on. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People at the time that surnames first came into use. Local surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Tapley is a local type of surname and the Tapley family lived in Devon in village of Tapeley. The village name literally means "wood where pegs were cut." [1]

Early Origins of the Tapley family

The surname Tapley was first found in Devon where the name is associated with the village of Tapeley. At the taking of the Domesday census in 1086 Tapeley was held by Osbern, a Norman Baron, who held it from the Bishop of Countances. The source Testa de Nevill, sive Liber Feodorum, temp. Henry III-Edward I has two early listings for the family, both in Devon: Adam de Tapplegh and Robert de Tapplegh. [2]

However, some of the family were well established as Tabley Inferior in Cheshire from ancient times. "Tabley House, the seat of Lord de Tabley, is replete with natural and artificial embellishments. The ancient house, the former seat of the family, is, with good taste, preserved; it is a fine specimen of the old habitations of the aristocracy of the country, and is situated on an island." [3]

Continuing the quest in Cheshire, the parish of Knutsford was also found to be an ancient family seat. "At the Conquest, Knutsford formed part of the barony of Halton, but in the reign of Edward I. it came into the possession of Sir William de Tabley, who obtained for it a charter of incorporation and various privileges." [3]

One of the first records of the family was Adam de Tabley, Lord of Cheadle (1270-1306), son of Roger d'Eiville, father of William de Tabley (born c. 1275.) This William is presumed to be the aforementioned Sir William. He had at least one daughter, Katherine de Tabley (1310-1390) who with her sisters(?) sold the estate in small parcels to the Masseys, Egertons and Breretons. [4]

Early History of the Tapley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tapley research. Another 63 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1745, 1564, 1632 and 1564 are included under the topic Early Tapley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tapley Spelling Variations

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 Tapley, Taplay, Tappleigh, Tapleigh, Taplegh, Tapplegh, Taplow, Taploe, Tapploe, Tapplow, Tapely, Tapply, Tarpley, Tarpleigh, Tarplow and many more.

Early Notables of the Tapley family (pre 1700)

Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tapley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tapley Ranking

In the United States, the name Tapley is the 6,782nd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [5]

United States Tapley migration to the United States +

An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Tapley:

Tapley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Clement Tapley, who arrived in Boston in 1640
  • Clement Tapley, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1640 [6]
  • Christopher Tapley, who landed in Maryland in 1668 [6]
Tapley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Tapley, who arrived in Maryland in 1775
Tapley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • H. Tapley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1823
  • Daniel Tapley, who landed in New York in 1835 [6]
  • H M Tapley, aged 31, who arrived in New York, NY in 1851 [6]

Canada Tapley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Tapley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mary Bryan Tapley, who settled in New Brunswick in 1794
Tapley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Henry Tapley, who was on record in the census of Ontario, Canada of 1871

Australia Tapley migration to Australia +

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

Tapley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Tapley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rajasthan" in 1838 [7]
  • Mary Tapley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rajasthan" in 1838 [7]
  • Elizabeth Tapley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rajasthan" in 1838 [7]
  • James Morford Tapley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rajasthan" in 1838 [7]
  • Katherine Tapley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rajasthan" in 1838 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Tapley 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:

Tapley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Tapley, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alma" in 1857

West Indies Tapley migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [8]
Tapley Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • William Tapley, who settled in Jamaica in 1685

Contemporary Notables of the name Tapley (post 1700) +

  • William Tapley, American politician, Representative from New York 23rd District, 1996 [9]
  • Walter Moore Tapley Jr. (1898-1971), American Republican politician, Justice of Maine State Supreme Court, 1954-69 [9]
  • Rufus P. Tapley (d. 1893), American politician, Justice of Maine State Supreme Court, 1865-72 [9]
  • Philip C. Tapley, American politician, Mayor of Saco, Maine, 1905-06 [9]
  • Joseph Tapley, American politician, Member of Missouri State House of Representatives from Pike County, 1901-04 [9]
  • Amanda Tapley (b. 1988), American beauty pageant titleholder, Miss Alabama 2008
  • Byron D Tapley, American director of the Center for Space Research and Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas
  • Rose Tapley (1883-1956), American leading lady of the stage and an early heroine of silent films
  • William Tapley, English actor
  • Colin Tapley (1907-1995), New Zealand actor, known for his participation on the Byrd Antarctic expedition and for his roles in The Dam Busters (1955), The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935) and The Vise (1954)
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. ^
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAJASTHAN 1838. Retrieved from
  8. ^
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 27) . Retrieved from on Facebook