The name Westlay reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Westlay family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest
of 1066. The Westlay family lived in Cambridgeshire
, at Westley
or at Westley Waterless
a small village and civil parish in East Cambridgeshire.
Early Origins of the Westlay family
The surname Westlay was first found in Cambridgeshire
where they held a family seat
as Lords of the manor of Westley Waterless. The place name dates back to the pre-Conquest times when it was first listed as Westle in 1045. By The Domesday Book
of 1086, it was known as Weslai. CITATION[CLOSE]
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
Conjecturally the family are descended from Hardwin, a Norman noble of Scales, who held the village of Westley from the Countess Judith at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book
. William de Westle was Archdeacon of Durham
(1362-1369.) However, Westleigh in Lancashire
may be the origin of the family. "A family of the local
name is mentioned [here] in the reign of Richard I." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Westlay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Westlay research.Another 197 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1800, 1636, 1678, 1662, 1735, 1669, 1742, 1596 and 1680 are included under the topic Early Westlay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Westlay Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations
. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Westly, Westley, Westle, Westles and others.
Early Notables of the Westlay family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Westley (Wesley) (1636-1678), an English nonconformist minister; his son Samuel Wesley (1662-1735), English minister and poet, father of John and Charles Wesley; and... Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Westlay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Westlay family to the New World and Oceana
Because of the political and religious discontent in England
, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Westlay name or one of its variants: Solomon Westle who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1752; William Westley settled in Connecticut in 1640; William Westley settled in Maryland in 1774.