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Lords Morley

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no known test candidates
Theorised origin
Morley, Norfolk
Marker Editors
First recorded
Roydon, Norfolk
Longest association
256 years
Morley, Norfolk
Last recorded
Morley, Norfolk
Marker Count
Possible offshoots
Markers last changed

Various notes

Douglas Richardson argues that the 1st Lord Morley only had one wife: Cecily de Mohaut [].


The second baron had a daughter (name unknown) that married Edmund Brokesbourne [BROKESBOURNE, Edmund (c.1340-1396/7), of Bradfield, Essex, The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993]. Chronologically, it seems more likely that this daughter was from Robert's second marriage (September 1334, per CP).


The Parkers, who eventually succeeded to the title, may have occasionally used Morley as a surname [SEAX abstract for D/DCe Z11].


Much of the Morleys' Mohaut inheritance was given to Queen Isabel, in exchange for the manor of Framsden []. The Mohaut lands were in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Oxfordshire, Sussex, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire [Ed. W. Pailey Baildon, Feet of fines for the county of York, from 1327 to 1347, pp. 117-8]. Additionally, there was a knight's fee in Leeds [ibid.]. The primary source [De Banco 306; East.; 10 Edw III, m. 166d] may provide more specifics as to the holdings in the other counties.

Looking for living descendants

The senior line of this family have been exensively studied; see for example The Complete Peerage (1936) vol IX, pp. 209ff. Unfortunately, the senior line -- the only line with a documented connection to baronial line's progenitor -- is now extinct.


Less (or not at all) documented are the Morleys descending from younger sons of this family. Some generations of CP's Morley article mention younger sons in the footnotes, without tracing the descendants. Other generations do not even go this far, probably due to lack of evidence.


The natural starting point would be to look for other Morleys living in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in or near the lands held by the baronial family. Marker 98 is assigned for this purpose.

A cadet line in Norfolk and Suffolk -- possibly extinct

Blomefield, without citing evidence, states that the manor of Morley was assigned to Robert, the eldest half-brother of the third baron, circa 1359 [Francis Blomefield, 'Hundred of Forehoe: Morley', An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 2 (1805), pp. 476-482]. Blomefield says that this Robert died in 1385 [ibid.]. WS Walford cites a deed from 1363 marking the grant of Framsden by William de Morlee, Marshal of Ireland (the third Lord Morley) to Robert de Morlee, knight, and Sibella his wife (perhaps daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas de Felton by his wife Joan), for their life [Proc. Soc. Antiq. of London, SS vol. 1, 1860, pp. 152-160]. This grant does not mention the relationship between the grantor and the grantee. In the same analysis, Walford (i) examines Blomefield's 1326 mention ['Hundred of Forehoe: Hingham', An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 2 (1805), pp. 422-445] of (another?) Robert de Morley as a younger son of the Robert (second Lord Morley) and presumably his first wife Hawise; and (ii) mentions that others such as Dugdale have attributed a son named Robert to the second lord's second marriage. Walford therefore heroically considers, with greater transparency than either CP or Blomefield, the placement of the Robert who ultimately inherited Framsden and Morley upon his father's death -- was this Robert from the second lords's first or second marriage? Unfortunately, no firm conclusions are reached, but Walford does lean toward the first marriage. It is more certain from Walford's analysis that there were sons of the second Lord Morley from his second marriage named Thomas and Henry. Thomas predeceased his father. Henry's fate after 1360 is not discussed. The recurrence of the name Henry at Holme Hall, Bottesford is certainly interesting, although there is another speculative son of the second Lord Morley, named Philip, who looks to be a better fit as the Bottesford progenitor.


Blomefield also describes the family's association with Bawsey and Glosthorp, although the account is confusing [Blomefield, 'Freebridge Hundred and Half: Bawsey and Glosthorp', An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 8, pp. 340-347].


Robert de Morle, knight, dead by 1390, seized of: the manors of Framesden (in Suffolk) and Morle (in Norfolk), and a messuage in King's Lynn ("Bishop's Lenn"). He was predeceased by his wife Sibyl. Despite the 1363 grant of Framesden being for the life of the deceased Robert (and his already-deceased wife), the deceased's son Robert, of full age, was named the heir [Cal. Fine Rolls, vol. 10, pp. 330, 359].

Despite the similarities, this Sir Robert Morley and his wife Sibyl are distinct from the Sir Robert Morley and wife Isabel (the parents of the fifth Lord Morley). The former is the (?half-)great-uncle of the latter. (added 16 May 2013)

Sir Robert Morlee, Parnel his wife and Robert their son sold their interest in 10 messuages in Darrington and Pontefract in 1388 [ transcription of CP 25/1/278/144, number 39]. This gives us an upper bound on Robert and Parnel's marriage, and the younger Robert's birthdate. It is not known how they acquired this land in the first place.


The heir, Robert Morlee (named as son of Robert Morlee, knight), with Parnel his wife sold their interest in 10 messuages in Darrington and Pontefract in 1388 [ transcription of CP 25/1/278/144, number 39]. This gives us an upper bound on Robert and Parnel's marriage. It is not known how they acquired this land in the first place. Perhaps it was part of Parnel's dowry. (corrected 16 May 2013)


Robert Morley, knight, of Norfolk and/or Suffolk died in 1416 and was succeeded by his son Thomas, with dower held for Robert's widow Petronilla (the aforementioned Parnel). No specific locations are mentioned. [Cal. Fine Rolls, vol. 14, p. 158].


Thomas de Morlee, knight, died in 1416 and the escheators of Norfolk/Suffolk and Essex/Hertford were directed to act [Cal. Fine Rolls, vol. 14, p. 144].  Another Thomas Morley, knight died circa 1417 and the Norfolk/Suffolk escheator was directed to act [Cal. Fine Rolls, vol. 14, p. 194]. It looks like the former Thomas was the fourth Lord Morley, while the latter was Thomas and Petronilla's son ((?half-)cousin of the former Thomas). (added 16 May 2013) The lands of Robert and Petronilla's son Thomas, including 2/3 of the manor of Framsden, Suffolk, were held in trust for Thomas' daughter Margaret, unmarried and underage in 1417 [Cal. Fine Rolls, vol. 14, pp. 201, 226].


Robert's widow Petronilla (as Parnel) died in 1425, but her inquisition was not held until 1430 [Cal. inq. p.m. 1427-1432, p. 237]. Petronella's held (apparently her dower from 1417) 1/3 of Framsden, with reversion after Petronella's death to her son Thomas' daughter Margaret (by 1430 married to Geoffrey Radcliffe, knight). Margaret inherited in 1430 and was over fourteen years old.


Page's account [Augustine Page and John Kirby, A supplement to The Suffolk traveller, 1841, p. 516ff] is more or less consistent with the above information. Additional information is provided concerning the descent of Framsden through the Radcliffes. There is some disagreement over the name of Margaret's first husband. Page also mentions in the same account Thomas Morley (1440/1), Walter de Morley (1466/7) Isabel, lady Morley (1494/5), Elizabeth Morley, widow temp. Henry VII all of whom we cannot place.

Copinger also provides a detailed account of the descent of Framsden [W.A. Copinger, The Manors of Suffolk, pp. 141-145].


While Framsden passed to Thomas' daughter Margaret upon Thomas' death, the manor of Morley apparently passed to Thomas' brother Robert [Francis Blomefield, 'Hundred of Forehoe: Morley', An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 2 (1805), pp. 476-482]. Sometime after 1490 (and definitely before 1545), the manor of Morley reverted to the lords Morley, so the Morleys descending from the 2nd Lord through his younger son Robert must have "daughtered out".


In summary, we have this tree, with the placement of the Robert who d. 1385/90 being uncertain:

Robert de Morley, 2nd Lord Morley; d. 1359/60

+ Hawise Marshal

    William (de) Morley, 3rd Lord Morley; ancestor of later lords Morley
    ?Sir Robert Morley, fl. 1326 [named in remainders in a grant to William de Morley from his
          father]; d. 1390 [or 1385 per Blomefield], held Framsden (Suffolk)
          and Morley (Norfolk) [Parentage is per Walford, who is undecided about the 
          existence of a son Robert from each marriage both marriages, but favours 
          this Robert being from the first marriage. Blomefield and others say he is from his
          father's second marriage.]

    + (bef. 1363, per Walford) Sibyll --, d. bef. 1390

        Sir Robert Morley, inherited Framsden in 1390; d. 1416

        + (bef. 1388) Petronilla/Parnel --, 1416: 1/3 of Framsden (dower); d. 1425

            Sir Thomas Morley, 1416: Framsden; d.c. 1417

            + -- [Elizabeth de la Pole, acc. to Page; he is prob. confusing this Thomas with
                his relative, the fifth Lord Morley]

                Margaret Morley, held full manor of Framsden by 1430

                + (bet. 1417-1430) Sir Geoffrey/Walter/Thomas Radcliffe

                + Robert Fitzrymond

            Robert Morley, b. bef. 1388; c1417: inherited manor of Morley [per Blomefield]; d. aft. 1490

            + -- [Elizabeth de la Pole, acc. to. Blomefield; again, probably confused with 
                the wife of the fifth Lord Morley]; d. aft. 1490 [per Blomefield; questionable
                whether she ever existed at all, in light of an inq. p.m. found by JOM]

    ?[Philip, possible progenitor of the Morleys of Holme Hall, Bottesford, Lincolnshire]

+ Joan -- (de Tyas?)

    Thomas, d.c. 1344 [sixteen years before his father]

    Henry, aet. above 14 at time of his father's death

    ?Robert [see notes above]

There are two references to Robert de Morley and his wife Claricia (formerly the widow of Sir Robert de Ilketshall who had died before 1381) ['Ilketshall', The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: volume 1 (1846), pp. 111-118; 'Holt hundred: Kelling', An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 9 (1808), pp. 403-407].

A possible Lincolnshire connection

See the page on the Morleys of Holme Hall, Bottesford, Lincolnshire.


A possible Essex connection

Great Hallingbury, Essex was another manor inherited from the Marshals. It was often known as Hallingbury Morley, and before that, Hallingbury Marshal. The 5th Lord Morley (Thomas) in 1428 assigned it to his son William and his heirs, with settlement to take place upon William's 21st birthday [SEAX abstract for D/DB T15/1]. The abstract calls William the second son [ibid.]. Yet the manor appears to have stayed with the senior line ['Parishes: Great Hallingbury', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 8 (1983), pp. 113-124]. So perhaps William died under age. The aforementioned abstract may contain further information about how the rest of the 5th Lord's lands were to be dispersed. It would be interesting to see if there were any Morleys on the 1553 list of previous and present tenants [SEAX D/DB M47].


There is mention of a James Morley of "Bushups Stratford" [sic Bishops Stortford, adjacent to Great Hallingbury] who flourished in the sixteenth or seventeenth century [Blount, The Visitation of Gloucestershire, p. 25].


One Nicholas Morle held a half knight's fee in Great Bromley, Essex in 1428 [Feudal Aids, vol. ii, p. 219], formerly held by Thomas de Grele. Land fitting the same description (probably the same land) was held in 1346 by "Dominus Robertus de Morle" and Elias Doreward, sometimes held ("aliquando tenuerunt") by Thomas de Greyle and the heirs of Walter son of Robert [ibid., p. 155]. Lord Robert de Morley also held land (formerly possessed by Walter son of Robert) in (?Great) Hallingbury ("Hallingburyburgh") in 1346 [ibid., p. 173].


Rosie Bevan has further researched the ownership of Great Bromley, finding William de Morley (almost certainly the third lord Morley) to be a joint holder of the manor there in 1360 and 1371 []. "Lord Thomas de Morley" (this would be William's son, the fourth lord) had revisions of this manor in 1382 when it experienced a revolt from its peasants [Mark Bailey, The English Manor c.1200 To c.1500, p. 220].


One source  [Joseph Yelloly Watson, The Tendring hundred in the olden time, p. 163-4] says that it was Robert de Morley who married a daughter of Robert FitzWalter and Devorguil de Burgh (and a niece of Robert Gresley). But it seems instead that both Great Bromley and Great Hallingbury (at least the latter as part of the barony of Walkern) passed to the Morleys through the Marshals, and that it was the Marshals who got this land from the FitzWalters/FitzRoberts [Great Hallingbury, VCH: Essex vol. 8; The FitzWalter Family, Sinclair Genealogy; Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Ed., pp. 206-209]. (There is some disagreement between VCH and other sources as to how exactly the Marshals and the FitzWalters were related.)


This then confirms that the above "Dominus Robert de Morle" is the second baron Morley, and suggests that Nicholas Morle of Great Bromley was a cadet member of the baronial family.  It will be interesting to see if there are Y-DNA similarities in between Morleys with Essex roots and Morleys with Norfolk roots -- but at present neither group is represented in this study!

Possible Hertfordshire and Sussex connections

Building on the details of the possible Essex connection, there is also mention of a Nicholas Morley of Hallingbury (perhaps the individual mentioned above) being High Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire in 1442 [History, High Sheriff of Hertfordshire website; Cal. Fine Rolls, vol. 17, p. 240]. (This year is, coincidentally, the year that the Morley barony passed out of the Morley male line.) This was probably the Nicholas Morley who served in 1438 as escheator of Essex and Hertfordshire [Cal. Fine Rolls, vol. 17, pp. 54, 126].


Noting that the founder of the Morley of Glynde family, Nicholas Morley, was associated with Aspenden, Hertfordshire and vicinity [The Glynde Place Archives, TNA; Manorial and estate documents and title deeds for various properties in Hertfordshire of the Morley family of Glynde, Sussex, 1282-1465, TNA], one wonders whether these Nicholases were connected . They may even be one in the same, as the Fine Roll entries seem to indicate [Cal. Fine Rolls, vol. 17, p. 425]. It is actually unclear whether Nicholas Morley "of Glynde" had connections to Aspenden prior to his wife's Walleys inheritance; he only comes to prominence in 1435 [I.S. Rogers, biographical index for Nicholas Morley (ca. 1410-ca. 1473)]; the earliest reference found so far is in 1433 [Feet of Fines, CP 25/1/91/112, number 69]. The Nicholas Morley which looks to be a member of the baronial family would have had ample opportunity to meet a Walleys co-heiress and motivation to marry her: from the Surname Map it is clear that the Walleys lands in Hertfordshire (code 5) are in between the baronial family's manors in Great Hallingbury and Walkern (code 98).


In light of this speculative connection between the Morleys of Glynde and the baronial family, it is curious that it was being claimed (as early as 1830) that the Morleys of Glynde were descendants of the Morleys of Wennington. Why would the successors of the Morleys of Glynde ignore or overlook the (arguably more appealing) tentative connection to the Lords Morley?


The VCH artile for Aspenden with Wakeley indicates that Nicholas was the second husband of Joan Walleys , and that Nicholas was alive in 1452 but probably dead by 1454 [VCH: Hertfordshire, vol. iv, p. 21]. The reasoning for VCH thinking Nicholas dead in 1454 is that Richard Morley, rather than Nicholas, "presented to the church" (in Hertfordshire?) in this year. But it appears that Nicholas was instead representing Bramber in Parliament, [I.S. Rogers, biographical index for Nicholas Morley (ca. 1410-ca. 1473)] so may have been unavailable to tend to Aspenden matters.


VCH also suggests that the Richard Morley mentioned in 1454 was the same as the one in 1470 called "late of Aspenden, alias late of London" [VCH: Hertfordshire, vol. iv, p. 21]. We have no further information on this Richard. It is interesting to note that the Morleys of Braddyll (relatives of the Morleys of Wennington) had brothers Richard and Nicholas Morley living in Lancashire in 1449 [VCH: Billington]. It also cannot be ignored that the Morleys of Glynde bore arms similar to the ones ascribed to the Morleys of Wennington.

With increased participation in the Morley Y-DNA study it should be possible to ascertain the genetic signatures of the baronial Morleys and the Morleys of Wennington. It would be interesting to see if the Morleys of Glynde are a match to either. But at present we know of no Morleys with confirmed descent from the Morleys of Glynde. If there are male-line descendants, they would most likely have ties to Sussex or to southern Wales.

Possible Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire connection

Per CP p. 214(l), the lords Morley held land in Buckinghamshire at the death of the second baron (1360). In 1435 a writ was sent to the escheator for Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, advising of the death of  "Thomas Morley, knight" (the fifth Lord Morley) (writs were also sent to the escheator of Essex and Hertfordshire, and the escheator of Norfolk and Suffolk) [Cal. Fine Rolls, vol. 16, p. 244]. We have yet to look for other, non-titled Morleys in these counties. We first need a better idea of where Thomas' lands in these counties were.

Possible Bedfordshire connections

In 1346 one Robert de Morle had tenants in Studham, Bedfordshire (formerly occupied by Walter de Ecclesford) [Feudal Aids, vol. i, p. 24]. Another Robert Morle had a tenant there in 1428 [Feudal Aids, vol. i, p. 43]. The first Robert was the second baron Morley: the descent of Studham is discussed in ['Parishes: Studham', A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2 (1908), pp. 274-280]. The manor of Studham actually straddles the historic Bedfordshire-Hertshire border. The Robert Morley mentioned in 1428 has not been placed. Presumably Thomas Morley (the fifth Lord Morley, who succeeded to the title in 1416) was owner at this time. So the 1428 mention of 'Robert' may be a mistake for 'Thomas'. Or perhaps it refers to a younger brother of Thomas.

In the same vicinity:


Surname: Morley
Title Start Year End Year Added Updated
Roydon, Norfolk
1200 1300 2013-02-04 2013-02-04
Morley, Norfolk
1234 1490 2013-02-04 2013-02-04
Llansantffraed, Monmouthshire, Wales, UK
1345 1370 2013-02-05 2013-02-05


The following forum may contain discussion relevant to this family group:

Forum: Norfolk and Suffolk

Title Post date Replies Last comment time
Samuel Morley family, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk to Ontario Wed, 03/06/2015 - 5:02pm 2 Mon, 07/08/2017 - 10:06pm
Resources for Norfolk Morley researchers Mon, 07/03/2016 - 10:57pm 0 Mon, 07/03/2016 - 10:57pm