An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The Townley name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having lived in the settlement of Towneley in the county of Lancashire, or by any clearing in which a farm was situated. The surname Townley thus belongs to both the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads, and class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.
Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Townley has undergone many spelling variations, including Townley, Towneley and others.
First found in Lancashire where they were descended from Spartlingus, the first Dean of Whalley about 896 A.D. Descended was Liwlphus, Cudwlphus, Henricus the great Baron of Whalley. He was followed by Robertus, Geoffrey who married the daughter of Roger de Lacy, Constable of Cheshire in 1193. "An estate in Lancashire, which belonged to this ancient and distinguished family, whose pedigree is said to be traced to the time of King Alfred, and to Spartlingus, first Dean of Whalley, who flourished about the year 896. The line of this personage terminated with an heiress, Cecilia of Towneley, in the XIV. century, who married John del Legh, and conveyed the estate to his family. He died in or about 1330, and his great-grandson resumed the ancient surname of Towneley. John del Legh was a cadet of the great Cheshire family of that name. Towneley Hall is still the seat of this race, who may well challenge comparison in point of venerable antiquity with any family in England." 
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Townley research. Another 239 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1375, 1376, 1377, 1531, 1737, 1760, 1600, 1644, 1629, 1707, 1711, 1683, 1686 and 1692 are included under the topic Early Townley History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 121 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Townley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Townley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Townley were among those contributors:
Townley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Townley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Townley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Townley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
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: Tenez le vraye
Motto Translation: Keep or speak the truth.
The Townley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Townley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 15 March 2016 at 10:02.