Woollfelay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Woollfelay is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest brought to England in 1066. The Woollfelay 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 Woollfelay family
The surname Woollfelay 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 Woollfelay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woollfelay 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 Woollfelay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Woollfelay Spelling Variations
Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Woolley, Wooley, Wooly and others.
Early Notables of the Woollfelay 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 Woollfelay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Woollfelay family to Ireland
Some of the Woollfelay 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 Woollfelay family
Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Woollfelay or a variant listed above: 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