Show ContentsTopley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Topley came to England with the ancestors of the Topley family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Topley family lived in Yorkshire. The name is derived from a combination of the Old English personal name Topp, and the word leah, meaning wood or clearing, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a wood or clearing owned by someone named Topp.

Early Origins of the Topley family

The surname Topley was first found in Yorkshire where they are conjecturally descended from a junior branch of the Percys. Topcliff or Topclive was granted to a Norman Baron named William Percy who later became the Earl of Northumberland and one of the most senior mighty nobles of the land. At the time of the Conquest, Topcliff consisted of a church and a mill on the side of the banks of the River Swale.

Early History of the Topley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Topley research. Another 182 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1391, 1451, 1532, 1593, 1598, 1603, 1604, 1740, 1778, 1832 and 1834 are included under the topic Early Topley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Topley 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 Topley 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 Topley include Topley, Topler, Topliffe, Topcliff, Topclive, Toppley, Topleif, Toplief, Toplis and many more.

Early Notables of the Topley family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was George Topcliff, Member of Parliament for Scarborough (1451); and Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778), an Anglican clergyman and hymn-writer.Richard Topcliffe (1532-1604), was a persecutor of Roman Catholics, born, according to his own account, in 1532, was the eldest son of Robert Topcliffe of Somerby, near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. "Topcliffe's name...
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Topley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Topley migration to the United States +

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 Topley, or a variant listed above:

Topley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Martha Topley, who arrived in Maryland in 1670 1
Topley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Topley, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1866
  • Thomas Topley, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1867

Contemporary Notables of the name Topley (post 1700) +

  • Reece James William Topley (b. 1994), English cricketer who plays the England National Team
  • Peter Aland Topley (b. 1950), former English cricketer from Canterbury, Kent, who played from 1973 to 1975
  • Thomas Donald "Don" Topley (b. 1964), nicknamed Toppers, a former English cricketer who played from 1984 to 1994
  • Lady Sophia Louise Sydney Topley (b. 1957), née Cavendish, English heiress, third child and second daughter of the 11th Duke of Devonshire and his wife, Deborah Mitford
  • William Topley, British musician, lead singer of the band The Blessing in the early 1990s
  • William Whiteman Carlton Topley FRS (1886-1944), British bacteriologist, Fellow of the Royal Society in 1930, awarded the Royal Medal in 1942
  • William Topley FRS (1841-1894), British geologist, born at Greenwich, son of William Topley of Woolwich, Fellow of the Royal Society in 1888 2
  • William James Topley (1845-1930), Canadian noted portrait photographer, born in Montreal, Canada East, known for his portraits of Canadian politicians

St. Francis Dam
  • Mrs. Rosetta Topley, American resident in Santa Clarita killed when the St. Francis Dam failed and flooded the area in 1928

  1. 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)
  2. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 Jan. 2019 on Facebook