The name Wistley was carried to England
in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest
of 1066. The Wistley family lived in Cambridgeshire
, at Westley
or at Westley Waterless
a small village and civil parish in East Cambridgeshire.
Early Origins of the Wistley family
The surname Wistley 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 Wistley family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wistley 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 Wistley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Wistley Spelling Variations
Endless spelling variations
are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Westly, Westley, Westle, Westles and others.
Early Notables of the Wistley 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 Wistley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Wistley family to the New World and Oceana
To escape the political and religious persecution within England
at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Wistley or a variant listed above: Solomon Westle who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1752; William Westley settled in Connecticut in 1640; William Westley settled in Maryland in 1774.