Wolfelay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Wolfelay 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 Wolfelay family lived in Cheshire, at Woolley. "This family, anciently De Wolegh, or De Woloey, were settled in Longdendale, co Chester as early as the reign of King John." 
It is thought that the name was originally derived from "'wolves' wood', or lost places of the same name,"  and this may be the reason that wolves appear on the Coat of Arms.
Early Origins of the Wolfelay family
The surname Wolfelay was first found in Cheshire where they held a family seat in Longdendale. Woolley is also located in Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Derbyshire and West Yorkshire. These place names are derived from the Old English words wulf + leah and literally means "wood or clearing frequented by wolves." Two of the places are listed in the Domesday Book as Ciluelai in Cambridgeshire and Wiluelai in West Yorkshire. 
Hugo de Wuluele was listed in the Assize Rolls for Yorkshire in 1219 and later, Ralph de Wullueleye was found in the Pipe Rolls for Berkshire in 1230. In Oxfordshire, Roger de Wolvele was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279 and in Staffordshire, Nicholas de Wolveleye was listed in the Assize Rolls for 1280. In Yorkshire, Bate de Wolflay was listed in 1308 and in Sussex, Robert de Woluelie was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of 1327. 
Another branch of the family was found at Thorpe in Surrey in later years. "The manor appears to have been held under the abbots of Chertsey in the 15th century, by a family named Thorpe: after the Dissolution, Queen Elizabeth granted the lands to Sir John Wolley, her Latin secretary." 
Early History of the Wolfelay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wolfelay research. Another 80 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1596, 1684, 1648, 1651, 1622, 1675, 1667, 1694, 1663, 1695 and 1771 are included under the topic Early Wolfelay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Wolfelay 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. Wolfelay has been recorded under many different variations, including Woolley, Wooley, Wooly and others.
Early Notables of the Wolfelay family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Wolley (d. 1596), Latin Secretary to Elizabeth, "was a native of Shropshire and a man of good family. " 
Edward Wolley (d. 1684), was an English divine, Bishop of Clonfert, probably second son of Thomas Wolley and his wife Elizabeth. "Wolley was domestic chaplain to Charles I, and on the decline of that monarch's fortunes he took refuge abroad about 1648. He afterwards joined Charles II in his exile and became his chaplain. He was with Charles in Paris in 1651, but returned to England after seven years, spent on the...
Another 112 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wolfelay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Wolfelay family to Ireland
Some of the Wolfelay 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 Wolfelay 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. Wolfelays were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: Richard Wooley settled in Virginia in 1635; John Wooley settled in Virginia in 1623; Cicely Wooley arrived in Philadelphia in 1683; John Woolley arrived in Jamaica in 1663.
Related Stories +
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print