Wellay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Wellay is a name that came to England in the 11th century wave of migration that was set off by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Wellay family lived in Lancashire, in the township of Whalley while Whaley is a small village in Derbyshire.
"The name of this great parochial division is Saxon, signifying the "Field of Wells," expressed by the word Walalæh. The village is chiefly celebrated for the venerable ruins of its abbey. In 1296 Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, having given the advowson of Whalley to the White monks of Stanlow, in Cheshire, they removed hither, and founded an abbey of the Cistercian order, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin it was consecrated in 1306, and additions were made to the buildings for more than 140 years after that time. The remains are still considerable, and possess much interest, exhibiting portions in the early, decorated, and later English styles." 
Early Origins of the Wellay family
The surname Wellay was first found in Lancashire where they were descended from Wyamarus Whalley, who accompanied William the Conqueror, from Normandy, and was the Standard Bearer at the Battle of Hastings. The Conqueror gave him the lordship of Whalley in the county of Lancaster. In 1296 an Abbot and about 20 monks arrived in Whalley to create a church that would become Whalley Abbey. One of the census records of the name was Robert de Whalley who died before 1193 and was listed as the rector of Rochdale. 
The church of St. Michael in Aughton, Lancashire would be an important ecclesiastical stronghold for the family. For it was there that a long tradition of rectors in the family was established. The first was Henry le Waleys who was rector in 1292, followed by Thomas le Waleys in 1303, Gilbert le Waleys in 1317, John le Waleys in 1318 and Henry (son of Richard) le Waleys in 1337. 
The first of the tenants of Litherland, Augton "was Richard le Waleys, who also held a third of the manor of Aughton. In 1212 it was found that he was holding a ploughland in Litherland for 10s. He died in 1221, and his son and heir Richard agreed to pay 40s. -four times the annual rent-as his relief, and was placed in possession. After the death of Richard, a Robert le Waleys appears to have been the principal member of the family; (fn. 10) possibly he was a brother and held some part of the manor, acting as guardian to John le Waleys of Litherland, the son and heir of Richard, who lived on till the beginning of the next century, and was after his death said to have been a 'centenarian.' " 
Early History of the Wellay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wellay research. Another 120 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1499, 1583, 1499, 1607, 1675, 1660, 1686, 1719, 1718 and 1719 are included under the topic Early Wellay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Wellay Spelling Variations
The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Wellay has been recorded under many different variations, including Whalley, Whaley, Walley, Whally and others.
Early Notables of the Wellay family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Whalley (1499?-1583), an English politician, born about 1499, the only son and heir of Thomas Whalley of Kirkton, Nottinghamshire. "He was no doubt related to the Whalley of Screveton who was physician to Henry VII, and some of whose medical receipts are extant in the Bodleian. He is also said to have been related to Protector Somerset. " 
General Edward Whalley (c. 1607-c. 1675), was an English military leader during the English Civil War, one of the regicides who signed the death warrant of King Charles I of England. At the Restoration...
Migration of the Wellay family to Ireland
Some of the Wellay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Wellay family
To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Wellays were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: General Edward Whalley who settled in Massachusetts Bay, and died there in 1679; Naomi Walley arrived in Pennsylvania in 1684; Elizabeth Walley settled in Virginia in 1650.
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: Mirabile in profundis
Motto Translation: Wonderful in the Depths.