Thurley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Thurley was brought to England by the Normans when they conquered the country in 1066. The ancestors of the Thurley 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 Thurley family

The surname Thurley 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 Thurley family

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

Thurley Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Thurley are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Thurley include Thorley, Thorleigh, Thawley, Thurley, Thurlby, Thurleigh and many more.

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


Canada Thurley migration to Canada +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Thurley, or a variant listed above:

Thurley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Thurley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774

Australia Thurley migration to Australia +

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

Thurley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Daniel Thurley, British Convict who was convicted in Essex, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Earl Spencer" in May 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. Joseph Thurley, English convict who was convicted in Essex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Captain Cook" on 2nd May 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]


The Thurley 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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th September 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-spencer
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/captain-cook


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