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 The Origin of 'Audley' (Page 1)

The English language has changed from 'Old English' through 'Middle English' to 'Modern English; the two images below show the spelling of the 'Audley' name has changed from its 'Old English' origins to the 'Modern English' spelling.





Whilst the village of 'Audley' is clearly one of the origins of the 'Audley' surname there are other additional possible origins as follows; In Ireland particularly County Galway there are/were many people with the Audley surname. It is believed that the origin of the 'Audley' surname in Ireland could be from the Anglicisation of an Old Irish Surname; such as Ó hÁiligh  (pronounced AWL-LEH)  or Ó h-Adhlaigh .It is also possible that one branch of the 'Audley' family may have in the late 1700s been called 'Allday' and as the  family moved from Neston & Shotwick, in Cheshire, England to Liverpool in Lancashire, their surname changed. At the time the family were probably illiterate and their name changed from the way the minister spelt their surname in the parish registers. The process by which the 'Allday' surname could change to 'Audley' is known at 'Metathasis' (the transposition of sounds or syllables in a word).  This change is  still under investigation but there is both documentary and DNA evidence to support it proposal.  In this instance both 'Allday' and 'Audley' are independent surnames but due to the process of Metathesis one branch of the 'Allday' family became one branch of the 'Audley' family. (See Audley Family {AA} A similar process  has also occurred in the early 1800s in Cheshire, England, where the surname of another branch of the 'Audley' family underwent the process of Methathesis  and their surname became 'Aidley'.  It is probable that most people with the 'Aidley' surname will trace their male ancestry back to an Audley (See Audley Family R)

DLU 20200414

The Battle Abbey Roll


William  I of England (William the Conqueror) ordered that an Abbey be built on the site of the Battle of Hastings that took place on Saturday 14th October 1066. The building of the Abbey was undertaken as an act of penance, ordered by Pope Alexander II in 1070 for the deaths of so many people during the Norman Conquest. The Abbey church was completed in 1094.


 A list was produced and kept at the Abbey of those people who fought along side  William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings and is that list is known as the 'Battle Abbey Roll'.  The original Roll has long since lost,  however a number of supposed copies were produced at a later date.

 The accuracy of these copies is questioned because there are significant differences between the names on each list and the  belief that Saxon families who held positions of influence in Norman England 'arranged' for their names to be added to the Battle Abbey Rolls to try and show that they had a Norman origin.

 The table below shows in which of the copies of the 'Battle Abbey Roll'  and other list of the Companions of William the Conqueror in which the Audley family name and other closely related names (Touchet; Verdon; Sneyd; and Stanley). occur.


"The Battle Abbey Roll" in the Auchinleck Manuscript.  This document originallypublished in the 1330s ad is kept in the National Library of Scotland.

 Link to Auchinleck manuscript


In this document there is no reference to Stanley or Sneyd


 Leland Copy 

produced 16th centrury

a supposed copy of the Battle Abbey Roll

(see note 1)

 In this version the names are in pairs and contains the following:

  • Audel et Aungeloun
  • Tuchet et Trussell
  • Vallonis et Vernoun
  • Vernoun et Waterville

There is no reference to Sneyd or Stanley, Verdon or Verdoune

  Holinshed Copy 

produced 16th centrury

a supposed copy of the Battle Abbey Roll

(see note 1)

 This list contains the following

  • Audeley
  • Tuchet
  • Verdoune

There is no Sneyd or Stanley

   Duchesne Copy 

produced 16th centrury

a supposed copy of the Battle Abbey Roll

(see note 1)

 This list contains the following
  • Audeley
  • Tuchet
  • Verdon

There is no Sneyd or Stanley


Dives Roll

This list was produced in 1866 and set up in the Church at Dives Sur Mer by Leopold Delisle

(see note 1)

Contains the names:

  • Richer d’Andeli

  • Guillaume d’Audrieu

  • De Touchet

  • Bertran de Verdun

There is no Sneyd or Stanley


Falaise Ross

Produced in Normandy in 1931


Contains the Names:

  • Le Sire de Touchet
  • Bertran de Verdun

There is no Audley, Sneyd or Stanley

  (Note 1) These 4 lists have been taken from 'The Battle Abbey Roll with some account of of the Norman Lineages (3 volumes) by The Duchess of Cleveland and published in 1889. A summary of this document, relevant to the Audley Family can be see  by selecting the link below

pdf  Summary of the Duchess of Cleveland's publication

The only universally accepted list of the companions of William the conqueror contain 15 names with 6 additional names. This list can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Companions_of_William_the_Conqueror

In conclusion the admnistrator of www,audleyfamilyhistory.com  believes that the Audley surname is of Saxon rather than Norman origin.

For other reading on the Battle Abbey Roll see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Abbey_Roll


Distribution of Audley & Audsley Surname


The maps below show the distribution of the Audley and the Audsley surname in both the 1841 and the 1881 censuses of England. The data that was used to produce these distribution maps is taken directly from the Ancestry Website transcription data without any further checking.

Whilst there appears to be a similar number of people with the Audley and Audsley  surname in both Censuses (1841 census: 174 Audley; 160 Audsley; 1881 census: 284 Audley; 294 Audsley) the Audley family members (red circles) appear to have a much wider distribution than the Audsley family members (blue squares) who appear to have remained in a small area of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

The members of the Audley family living in West Yorkshire by 1881 appear to have moved  to the West Riding of Yorkshire from Norfolk, Warwickshire, and Huntingdon. Conversely by 1881 there was one Audsley family Living in Toxteth Park, Liverpool, and another Audsley family across the River Mersey in Tranmere, Cheshire.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Audley and Audsley surname share a common origin.
  1841censusAudleyAudsley   1881censusAudleyAudsley
  The Distribution of the Audley Surname (red circles) and the Audsley Surname (blue squares) in the 1841 Census of England   The Distribution of the Audley Surname (red circles) and the Audsley Surname (blue squares) in the 1881 Census of England  


Similar Surnames

 In undertaking research into the History of the Audley surname it became clear that in numerous instances the Audley surname has been either misrecorded in the original documents or mistranscribed when records have been indexed into moden family history websites. In trying to understand  the range of surnames I should be looking at to find misrecorded Audley records it became clear that there are twenty three valid surnames, which are similar to the Audley surname and with which confusion in recording events could have occurred.

Some of these surnames are more frequently recorded than the Audley surname and others are less frequent. The following 3 charts shows the relative frequency of these twenty three surnames compared to the Audley surname. The frequency of use of these surnames is based on the number of times each of these surnames is recorded in the General Register Office, birth, marriage and death indexes for the period 1837 to 1999 inclusive. It should be noted that the frequency scales are different on the following charts.


Of the above 23 surnames (excluding the Audley surname) 5 of them also share the same name as a village or a town as shown in the table below:

   Surname  Location of village or town, with the same name as the Surname, in relation to the village of Audley in Staffordshire
   Handley  Handley is 26 miles to the west of Audley
   Dudley  Dudley is 54 miles to the south of Audley
   Adderley  Adderley is 16 miles to the south west of Audley
  Ardley Ardley is 111 miles south east of Audley
  Alderley Alderley is 126 miles to the south of Audley

A more detailed anaysis of these figures can be found in the following file:

 pdf    Analysis of the frequency of similar surnames to the Audley Surname


Distribution of Audley Surname


The maps below show the distribution of Audleys in the 1841 & 1851 censuses of England. The larger the circle the larger the number of Audleys at that location.

The data for these maps have been taken from the Ancestry website without any additional checking.
  1841censusAudley   1881censusaudley

The Distribution of the Audley Surname in

the 1841 Census of England(173 persons)

  The Distribution of the Audley Surname in the 1881 Census of England(284 persons)


Our Research of Audley


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