Last name: Woolley
This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from any of the various places so called, such as those in Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, the West Riding of Yorkshire and Somerset. The places in Berkshire, Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire are derive from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wulf", wolf, or it may be from the personal name or byname "Wulf", also meaning wolf, and the Olde English "leah", wood, clearing. However, the place in Somerset has as its first element the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "woll, wull", spring, stream, a development of the Olde English (West Saxon) "wiell(a)". Woolley in Berkshire was first recorded as "Olvelei" in the Domesday Book of 1086, the place in Yorkshire first appears as "Wiluelai" in the Domesday Book, and the place in Somerset was first entered as "Wilege" and "Wllega", also in the Domesday Book. The modern surname can be found as Woolley, Wooley and Wolley. Among the Church Recordings in Yorkshire are the marriages of Richard Woolley and Mary Tyngle on September 13th 1578 at Rotherham, and of Thomas Woolley and Alicia Skargell on October 13th 1583 at Sheffield. A Coat of Arms granted to the Woolley family is a red shield with a fess chequy argent and sable, in base a crescent of the second, the Crest being an eagle proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo de Wuluele, which was dated 1219, witness in the "Assize Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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Kenneth R, Woolley III
This is always the history I've been told. It is also the correct Coat of Arms Red with checkerboard and yellow crescent. As Mark Woolley has stated there is another history for the name about it being Norman in origin. I noticed that whenever I see that history the Coat of Arms is also completely different being blue and yellow. I don't believe the Norman version. I think looking at the name and the Anglo-Saxon origins are correct. I have found the red coat of arms and the Anglo-Saxon in a old book.
Kate Beatson (WOOLLEY)
Have traced out tree to Yorkshire - 1219, if this helps.
Hi Kate just starting my family tree. Our family lives near to Woolley in Yorkshire. Would be interested in your family tree.
Good to hear some of the family lives close to home.
Hello Kate, I am trying to track Richard Woolley born about 1590 who married Ann Christopher around 1616. I am curious if you have any information on these two people who eventually immigrated to America. Thanks in advance for you time concerning this matter.
As far as I can get there is a gap between what happened after Richard and Ann after arriving in Virginia(?) I do know that I have cousins that have a different spelling of the last name (Wooley) for whatever reasons, it is speculated they were trying to distance themselves from some rowdier family members.
Well thats a different take upon the surname and totally contradicts other sources which say that Woolley is derived from a Norman name De Woleigh. Not sure who to beleive now. It does not help with our family history research I must say.
Plz have a look at my background on www.myheritage.com ( woolleys of bournville
This appears to need a lot more work, Mark; but I would put money on De Woleigh (a place name?). Interestingly, the Normans were French speaking and were considered French by many..."the Frenchman". I've been told during the Norman conquest French was the language of court and court. I have a friend who is a Burleigh. You can imagine the variations: Burleigh, Burley, Burlley, Burlee, Berly, etc., etc. I think they are also Norman French.
The name Woolley has origins in Norway!
My friend's spelled as Wulee
I was just curious about my family name and where it was from good to know it gos back so far in britain :)
C.A.Jones nee Woolley
Yes, I understand that the surname is Norman ( Viking via 1066 ) but a Norwegian origen is a first for me but possible.