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Manley Coat of Arms / Manley Family Crest

Manley Coat of Arms / Manley Family Crest

The surname of MANLEY was a locational name 'of Manley' a township in the parish of Frodsham, County Chester. There is also a place in County Devon, so called, from where the original bearer may have taken his name. The name was derived from the Old English GEMOENE, literally meaning the dweller at a wood-clearing. The name is still chiefly found in the region around these villages. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. This well-known English name was taken to Ireland by early settlers, and when found in Cork this is O'Mainle, and often pronounced as Mauly there. Early records of the name mention William de Manelegh, 1202 County Devon. Thomas Manley, registered at Oxford University in 1577. Thomas Mandley married Mary Lambert St.James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1621. Baptised. Elizabeth Manly, St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1629. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village early times, has served to name many families. A notable member of the name was Mary de la Rivere Manley (1672-1724) the British writer, born in Jersey, the daughter of a future governor of Jersey. After her father's death in 1688, she was lured into a bigamous marriage with her cousin, John Manly of Truro, MP, who soon deserted her. She went to England where she had a success with the publication of her letters. In 1696, she wrote two plays. She wrote a fictional account of her early struggles in 'The Adventures of Rivella' published in 1714.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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