The surname of WHITLEY 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 WHITELEY. 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.
Origin Displayed: English
Where did the English Whitley family come from? What is the English coat of arms/family crest? When did the Whitley family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the history of the family name?
The name Whitley came to England with the ancestors of the Whitley family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Whitley family lived in Devonshire, in the township of Whitleigh.
Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Whitley, Whiteley, Whitleigh, Whytleigh, Whyteleigh, Wytley, Whitlie and many more.
First found in Devonshire where they held a family seat from 1066, and Robert d'Aumale held the village of Whitleigh from Bishop Odo.
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Whitley or a variant listed above were: Mitchell Whitley, who settled in Virginia in 1635; Richard Whitley, who settled in Virginia in 1646; Thomas Whitley, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1682.
For more information on the last name Whitley, the PDF Surname History is available for purchase as well as other products.
Some noteworthy people of the name Whitley
* Charles Orville Whitley (1927-2002), American politician, U.S. Congressman from North Carolina (1977-86)
* Chip Whitley, real name of American television celebrity Conan O'Brien
* John Henry Whitley (1866-1935), English, Speaker of the House of Commons
* Sir John Whitley (1905-1997), English RAF Air Marshall
* Oliver Whitley (1912-2005), English BBC Broadcasting Director
* Henry Whitley, Minister of the High Church of Edinburgh, St Giles Cathedral
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