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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Wheatley is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Wheatley family lived in Somerset, at the village of Whatley.


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 Whatley, Whatly, Whately, Wheatley, Whetly, Whettell and many more.

First found in Somerset in the village and manor of Whatley near Frome, where they are conjecturally believed to be descended from the possessor of those lands, at the taking of the Domesday Survey in 1086, John the Usher, from Glastonbury Abbey. The Wheatley variant can be found throughout England, specifically: Wheatley, Oxfordshire; Wheatley Lane in Lancashire; and North and South Wheatley in Nottinghamshire. The two latter villages are listed in the Domesday Book as Watelei and Wateleie. [1] Literally, Wheately means "clearing where wheat is grown," from the Old English "hwaete" + "leah." [2]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wheatley research. Another 259 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1330, 1582, 1768, 1686, 1742, 1747, 1801, 1753 and 1784 are included under the topic Early Wheatley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wheatley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 Wheatley name or one of its variants:

Wheatley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Christopher Wheatley, aged 28, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • John Wheatley, who landed in Maryland in 1641
  • William Wheatley, who arrived in Maryland in 1643
  • David Wheatley, who landed in Virginia in 1645
  • Eliza Wheatley, who arrived in Virginia in 1649

Wheatley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Solomon Wheatley, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
  • Henry Wheatley, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716-1717
  • Phillis Wheatley, who landed in New England in 1761

Wheatley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Elizabeth Wheatley, aged 19, landed in Massachusetts in 1813

Wheatley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Wheatley settled in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia, in 1775
  • Thomas Wheatley, aged 53, landed in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1775

Wheatley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Joseph Wheatley, aged 29, a labourer, arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836
  • Mary Wheatley arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836
  • John Wheatley, English convict from Derby, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Sarah Wheatley arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Stebonheath" in 1849
  • Sarah Wheatley arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1849

Wheatley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Mary F. Wheatley arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861
  • George Wheatley, aged 21, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rodney" in 1875
  • Henry Wheatley, aged 24, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hurunui" in 1877


  • Mark A. Wheatley, American politician, Member of the Utah House of Representatives (2004-)
  • Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784), American poet, born in Africa, sold into slavery at the age of seven in 1761 and transported to America, house slave for Boston merchant John Wheatley from who she took the surname, considered the first important black writer in the United States, eponym of Wheatley, a Venusian crater
  • Blane Wheatley (b. 1963), American film actor, known for Monarch of the Moon (2005), The Unnamable (1988) and Bluegrass (1988)
  • Tyrone Anthony Wheatley (b. 1972), American running backs coach of the Buffalo Bills
  • Jane Wheatley (1881-1935), American stage actress
  • Francis Wheatley VC, DCM (1821-1865), English recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Crimean War
  • Francis Wheatley RA (1747-1801), English portrait and landscape painter
  • John David Patrick Wheatley (1899-1967), English tennis player who played at Wimbledon, in the Olympics and in the Davis Cup
  • Paul Charles Wheatley (b. 1938), English Anglican priest, Archdeacon of Sherborne (1991-2003)
  • Alan Wheatley (1907-1991), English radio announcer who turned to stage and screen acting, best remembered for his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham



  • Genealogy of the Wheatley Family of Wheatleigh Family by Hannibal Parish Wheatley.
  • Henry Sharp (c. 1737-1800) of Sussex County, New Jersey and Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and His Wife Lydia Morgan, and Some of Their Descendants, Including Chalfant, Depuy, Silverthorn, and Wheatley Families by Elizabeth Cobb Stewart Eastwood.

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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  5. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  6. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  9. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  10. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  11. ...

The Wheatley Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Wheatley 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 13 March 2016 at 16:29.

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