Thurlby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Today's generation of the Thurlby family bears a name that was brought to England by the migration wave that was started by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Thurlby 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 Thurlby family

The surname Thurlby 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 Thurlby family

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

Thurlby Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Thurlby include Thorley, Thorleigh, Thawley, Thurley, Thurlby, Thurleigh and many more.

Early Notables of the Thurlby 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 Thurlby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Thurlby migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Thurlbys to arrive on North American shores:

Thurlby Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Hen Thurlby, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [9]
Thurlby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Thurlby, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1853

Contemporary Notables of the name Thurlby (post 1700) +

  • Paul Stuart Thurlby, English newspaper illustrator based in London
  • Thomas Newman "Tom" Thurlby (b. 1938), Canadian retired professional NHL ice hockey defenceman from Kingston, Ontario


The Thurlby 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
  9. ^ 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)


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