Recorded as Thorley, Thorlie, Thorlee, Thurley, Thurlie and others, this is an English locational surname. It almost certainly originates from the village of Thorley in the county of Herfordshire. It is unclear when the place itself was first recorded, but Robert de Torly or Turly appears in the Hundred Rolls of landowners, but for the county of Sussex in 1273, as does Thomas de Torlaye also recorded as Thorley, in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire in the same year. Locational surnames are "usually" from names, and this is certainly a good example.Such names were given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhwere else. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, lead as with this name to the creation of "sounds like" spellings. The place name means Thor's farm or settlement, a reference to the Viking god of war, and found in many places such as Tholthorp in Yorkshire. Other recordings taken from later church records include Theobald de Thorlee of Norfolk in the time of King Henry Vth (1413 - 1422) and Anthony Thuirley who was buried at St Michael Cornhill, in the city of London in 1654.
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