Varlea History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Varlea family name to the British Isles. They lived in Verly, or Verlai, Normandy

The Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists Robert de Verlie, Normandy 1180-95 and Robert de Verli held land in Norfolk in 1086. Hugh and William de Verli held lands in Essex and York and later, Torald de Verli gave lands to Salop Abbey, c. 1100. [1]

"One of these two Roberts was probably the founder of Swine Priory in Yorkshire. 'This Priory (according to Tanner) was founded before the reign of Stephen by Robert de Verb, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In the reign of Henry I. there was a Hugo de Verli who gave to John Lascels half a carucate at Swine; and in 1184 one of the same name gave 40s. to the King that he might be quit of his oath in a plea of land against William de Ottringham. Robert de Verli, 5 Hen. III., grants to Henry de Pocklington and Margaret his wife the homage of John de Wilton. Another Henry de Verli is mentioned in a subsequent page of the Chartulary. From these several circumstances it may be inferred that the De Verlis were residents in Holderness." [2]

Early Origins of the Varlea family

The surname Varlea was first found in Norfolk where they were descended from Hugh and Roger De Verleio, two knights of St. Martin De Aubigny in Manche in the arrondisement of Coutances in Normandy. R. de Verli was granted lands in 1066 in Norfolk and was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. [3]

Another Roger de Virlie or Verly, was Baillif of Norwich. Norfolk in 1335. "This Roger was bailiff several times. He is entered Verley in 1343, and Verli in 1344. " [4]

Alternatively, the name could have been a local surname having derived from Verley (Virley), a parish, in the union of Lexden and Winstree, hundred of Winstree in Essex. [4] [5] [6]

A very small parish, having only 68 people by the late 1800's, this origin is questioned by Reaney, "The surname cannot derive, as has been suggested, from Virley (Essex) which is not so called before the 16th century. It was originally Salcota, later Salcote Verly, from its Domesday lord Robert de Verli, who came from Verley (Aisne.) " [7]

Reaney does note that Hugo de Verli was listed in the Assize Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1219 and Thomas Virley was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1275 in Suffolk. He supposes that the name may have been a southern form of Farleigh and is the only author to do so. [7]

We agree with Reaney's phonetic match of Varley and Farleigh. However, in our humble opinion, we feel that as the lion's share of researchers point to Virley, Essex and Norfolk as points of origin for the family, we question Reaney's opinion. Moreover, Reaney, himself noted Salcote Verly as a former name for Virley, Essex.

Early History of the Varlea family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Varlea research. Another 257 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1596, 1275, 1319, 1322, 1324, 1243, 1725, 1795, 1748 and are included under the topic Early Varlea History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Varlea Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Varley, Verley and others.

Early Notables of the Varlea family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Charles Varley or Varlo (1725?-1795?), an English agriculturist, born in Yorkshire. "He visited Ireland in his twenty-first year, spending some time with Edward Synge, Bishop of Elphin. In 1748 he would seem to have been farming on his own account in the county of Leitrim, and to have been also an early experimenter in the turnip...
Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Varlea Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Varlea family to Ireland

Some of the Varlea family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 130 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Varlea family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Varlea or a variant listed above were: Margaretta Varley, who settled in New York State in 1775 with her two children; William Varley arrived in Philadelphia in 1874; John Varley arrived in Philadelphia in 1860..



The Varlea 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: Magna est Veritas
Motto Translation: Great is truth.


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  6. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  7. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)


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