Thirlby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Thirlby is a name whose history on English soil dates back to the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066. The Thirlby family lived in the parish of Thorley in the union of Bishop-Stortford, hundred of Braughin, county of Hertford or at Thorley, a parish, in the liberty of West Medina, Isle of Wight division of the county of Southampton. [1] [2] [3]

Both locales date back to the Domesday Book where they were listed as "Torlei" [4] They literally meant "thorn-tree wood or clearing," from the Old English "thorn" + "lea." [5]

Early Origins of the Thirlby family

The surname Thirlby was first found in Hertfordshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Thorley at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book Census in 1086, a census initiated by King William, Duke of Normandy after his conquest of England in 1066 A.D. In 1086, Thorley consisted of a Mill and a village and was held by Rodhere from the Bishop of London who was the tenant in chief. Conjecturally, the Thorleys are descended from this Norman noble.

By the thirteenth century, the family had scattered throughout ancient Britain. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed: Robert de Torly in Sussex; and Thomas de Torlaye, or Thorlay, or Thorley in Lincolnshire. [6]

John Thorley was one of the burgesses for Lincoln in the parliament of 1397. [7]

In Norfolk, Adam de Thorle was listed there in 1337 and the same source notes Theobald de Thorlee, there temp. Henry V (during the reign of King Henry V.) [8]

"Ernald de Torley, about the reign of Henry III., held half a fee in West Winch of Simon Fitz Richard, and he of the Earl of Clare." - Blomfield's Norfolk.

Early History of the Thirlby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thirlby research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1530, 1560, 1506, 1570, 1686 and 1753 are included under the topic Early Thirlby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thirlby Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Thorley, Thorleigh, Thawley, Thurley, Thurlby, Thurleigh and many more.

Early Notables of the Thirlby family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas Thirlby or Thirleby (1506?-1570), the first and only bishop of Westminster, and afterwards successively bishop of Norwich and Ely...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thirlby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Thirlby family

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Thirlby or a variant listed above: James Thorley who settled in Virginia in 1622; Jane Thorley landed in America in 1766; Henry Thurlley settled in Virginia in 1650; Thomas Thurlby settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1853..



The Thirlby Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fide et fiducia
Motto Translation: By fidelity and confidence.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  8. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print


Houseofnames.com on Facebook