The surname of STANLEY was a locational name 'of Stanley' places in counties Derbyshire, Stafford and Gloucestershire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. There are at least ten ecclesiastical parishes of this name in England. Other spellings of the name include STANLY, STANDLEY and STANLEIGH. The Stanley family who hold the earldom of Derby trace their descent from a companion of William the Conqueror, Adam de Aldithley. Some of his descendants became known by the surname Audley, but another branch took the name STANLEY when Adam's grandson married the heiress to the manor of STANLEY in Staffs. The founder of the family's fortune was Sir John STANLEY (?1350-1414), who married an heiress of West Derby, Lancashire. He became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and was granted sovereignty over the Isle of Man by Henry IV. His great-grandson, Thomas STANLEY (?1435-1504), was created Earl of Derby in 1485 by Henry VII, his wife's son by an earlier marriage. A notable member of the name was Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904) the British explorer of Welsh birth, was sent in 1869 by the proprietor of the 'New York Herald' to find David Livingstone, who was believed to be lost in Central Africa. 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. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
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