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Kelley Coat of Arms / Kelley Family Crest

Kelley Coat of Arms / Kelley Family Crest

SURNAMES as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. KELLEY was originally from Kelly in Arbroath or Kellie in Fife, also from Kelly in County Devon. The name meant 'the dweller in a wood grove'. Local names usually denoted where a man held and owned land, and indicated where he actually lived. Warin de Kelly was documented in the year 1194 in the County of Devon. Early records of the name also mention John de Kelly 1373 County Devon. In Ireland they were a most important and numerous sept in the Ui Maine. In Irish the name was O'Ceallaigh.The most probable suggestion is that it is from the Gaelic word 'ceallach' (strife). Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. There has been a family of this name Kelly in County Devon, since Martin de Kelly was recorded there in the year 1100.


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last updated on: December 8th, 2017

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