The surname of WHITELEY was a locational name 'of Whiteley' the dweller by the white meadow. There are places of the name in counties Oxford, Berkshire and Northumberland. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Richard de Witeley, 1190, County Yorkshire. Edward de Whiteley was documented in County Lancashire in the year 1246. William de Witeleye was recorded in County York in the year 1273. The name is also spelt WITLEY and WHITLEY. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. A notable member of the name was William WHITELEY (1831-1907) the English merchant, born in Wakefield, Yorkshire. In 1863 he opened what became London's first department store, off Bayswater Road. He applied to himself the name of 'Universal Provider'. Another noteworthy person of the name is Brett WHITELEY, born in 1939, the Australian artist, from Paddington, Sydney. He studied in Sydney, but a scholarship enabled him to study in France. He worked in New York from 1967 to 1969, and continued to travel and exhibit abroad regularly. He won the prestigious Archibald prize in 1976, and again in 1978, the Sulman prize (1976 and 1978) and the Wynne prize in 1977 and 1978.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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