Woolvelay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Woolvelay arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Woolvelay 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 Woolvelay family
The surname Woolvelay 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 Woolvelay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woolvelay 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 Woolvelay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Woolvelay 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 Woolley, Wooley, Wooly and others.
Early Notables of the Woolvelay 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...
Migration of the Woolvelay family to Ireland
Some of the Woolvelay 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 Woolvelay family
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 Woolvelay name or one of its variants: 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.