Worlay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Worlay was brought to England by the Normans when they conquered the country in 1066. The ancestors of the Worlay family lived in Lancashire, in the township of Whalley while Whaley is a small village in Derbyshire.
"The name of this great parochial division is Saxon, signifying the "Field of Wells," expressed by the word Walalæh. The village is chiefly celebrated for the venerable ruins of its abbey. In 1296 Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, having given the advowson of Whalley to the White monks of Stanlow, in Cheshire, they removed hither, and founded an abbey of the Cistercian order, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin it was consecrated in 1306, and additions were made to the buildings for more than 140 years after that time. The remains are still considerable, and possess much interest, exhibiting portions in the early, decorated, and later English styles." 
Early Origins of the Worlay family
The surname Worlay was first found in Lancashire where they were descended from Wyamarus Whalley, who accompanied William the Conqueror, from Normandy, and was the Standard Bearer at the Battle of Hastings. The Conqueror gave him the lordship of Whalley in the county of Lancaster. In 1296 an Abbot and about 20 monks arrived in Whalley to create a church that would become Whalley Abbey. One of the census records of the name was Robert de Whalley who died before 1193 and was listed as the rector of Rochdale. 
The church of St. Michael in Aughton, Lancashire would be an important ecclesiastical stronghold for the family. For it was there that a long tradition of rectors in the family was established. The first was Henry le Waleys who was rector in 1292, followed by Thomas le Waleys in 1303, Gilbert le Waleys in 1317, John le Waleys in 1318 and Henry (son of Richard) le Waleys in 1337. 
The first of the tenants of Litherland, Augton "was Richard le Waleys, who also held a third of the manor of Aughton. In 1212 it was found that he was holding a ploughland in Litherland for 10s. He died in 1221, and his son and heir Richard agreed to pay 40s. -four times the annual rent-as his relief, and was placed in possession. After the death of Richard, a Robert le Waleys appears to have been the principal member of the family; (fn. 10) possibly he was a brother and held some part of the manor, acting as guardian to John le Waleys of Litherland, the son and heir of Richard, who lived on till the beginning of the next century, and was after his death said to have been a 'centenarian.' " 
Early History of the Worlay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Worlay research. Another 120 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1499, 1583, 1499, 1607, 1675, 1660, 1686, 1719, 1718 and 1719 are included under the topic Early Worlay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Worlay Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Worlay are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Worlay include Whalley, Whaley, Walley, Whally and others.
Early Notables of the Worlay family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Whalley (1499?-1583), an English politician, born about 1499, the only son and heir of Thomas Whalley of Kirkton, Nottinghamshire. "He was no doubt related to the Whalley of Screveton who was physician to Henry VII, and some of whose medical receipts are extant in the Bodleian. He is also said to have been related to Protector Somerset. " 
General Edward Whalley (c. 1607-c. 1675), was an English military leader during the English Civil War, one of the regicides who signed the death warrant of King Charles I of England. At the Restoration...
Another 134 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Worlay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Worlay family to Ireland
Some of the Worlay 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 Worlay family
Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Worlay, or a variant listed above: General Edward Whalley who settled in Massachusetts Bay, and died there in 1679; Naomi Walley arrived in Pennsylvania in 1684; Elizabeth Walley settled in Virginia in 1650.
Related Stories +
The Worlay Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Mirabile in profundis
Motto Translation: Wonderful in the Depths.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ 'Townships: Scarisbrick', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, ed. William Farrer and J Brownbill (London, 1907), pp. 265-276. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol3/pp265-276 [accessed 21 January 2017].
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print