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One-Name Study


About the Espley One-Name Study

I started my Espley One-Name study in 2010. In the course of tracing my wife’s family history I realised that Espley is a relatively uncommon name and perhaps an obvious choice for a One-Name study. I have been researching my own ancestry for about 17 years on and off and was ready for a new challenge.

I joined the Guild of One-Name Studies at the end of December 2010 and registered the Espley name in March 2011.


The registered variants of the name are Epsley and Aspley.

Origin of the surname

The Espley surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is said to be a locational name from the place in Northumberland called Espley.

There are also early references to the name in Shropshire. Espley was a small manor, held at the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086 by one Walter from Reginald the Sheriff, who in turn held it from Earl Roger. The manor later descended with the FitzAlans as part of their Barony of Oswestry. The subtenants were the de Espleys until c1280-84, when John de Espley conveyed the manor to Sir Odo de Hodenet or William de Hodenet. The site of the medieval manor of Espley is likely to have centred on the site of the modern farm of that name

Frequency of the name

There has been a steady increase in the Espley population in the UK since the 1841 census.

Census Espley entries
1841 108
1851 117
1861 132
1871 176
1881 247
1891 259
1901 334
1911 408

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) database there were 598 Espleys as of September 2002 - that’s only about 1 in 98,000 of the UK population. This makes it the 9874th most common name in England and Wales.

Distribution of the name

In the 19th century the name was concentrated in three particular areas - Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.


I have recorded all of the Espley birth, marriage and death entries from the General Register Office for England and Wales from 1837 to 2005. I will be going on to do the Epsley and Aspley names.

I have also recorded all the Espley IGI entries for England and have started to transcribe the UK census records.

I know that there are Espley’s in New Zealand, Australia and Canada so I will be doing overseas research in the future.


Here is a link to my family history blog (not specifically about Espley).

There is also an Espley Society page on Facebook

Contact details

For further information, contact:

Mr Mike Dawson

This page last updated 13 January 2012.

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Profiles of other one-name studies registered with the Guild may be found here.

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Long thin blue line © Guild of One-Name Studies 2007 This page was last modified 13 Jan 2012, 14:26
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