Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
This last name has two origin theories. First, it is a locational name meaning “of Shepley”, a township in the parish of Kirk Burton in West Riding Yorkshire. Second, it is a locational name meaning “of Shipley” a parish in West Riding a few miles from Bradford. Both locales were originally spelt Scheplay. Another source, the Dictionary of American Family Names, states there is numerous places that gave rise to this habitational name: places in Derbyshire, Durham, Shropshire, Northumberland, Sussex, and West Yorkshire. In the Domesday Book of 1086 AD, a survey of Wales and England ordered by William the Conqueror, the place in Derbyshire is spelled Scipelie and the place in Yorkshire is spelled Scipeleia. The name derives from Old English sceap or scip (sheep) and leah (wood or clearing), which suggests the location may have been a grazing grounds for sheep, and hence the name be a habitational one referring to a person who lived near a sheep pasture. Members of the family emigrated to America in the 16th and 17th century and became well established in Maryland.
Common spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Shepley, Scheplay, Shippley, Schipley, Schiplee, Shipeley, Shewipley, Shiply, Shiple, Shiepley, and Shiplie, and Skiplie.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name ranks Sweet ranks 1,748th in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following eight states: Tennessee, Maryland, Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, Iowa, Oregon, and Kansas. The surname is also common in England, where it ranks 1,992nd. The name is common throughout the English speaking world: Scotland (3,417th), Wales (3,682nd), Ireland (8,504th), Canada (3,904th), New Zealand (6,534th), Australia (3,803rd) and South Africa (12,715th).
Early Bearers of the Surname
The earliest known bearer of this surname was Hugh de Sciplay who was documented in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219 AD. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists two bearers of this surname: Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Northumberland. The Poll Tax of Yorkshire of 1379 AD lists three bearers: Katherine de Scheplay, Joanna de Scheplay, and Adam de Scheplay. An early baptism involving this surname was Hannah, daughter of Henry Shepley, at St. James Clerkwenwell in London in 1698. An early burial involving this surname was Samuel Shipley at St. Mary Aldermary in 1714.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
The famous genealogist Bernard Burke’s book “The Landed Gentry” discusses one branch of this family: Shipley of Twyford Moors. It begins with a mention of Conway Mordaunt Shipley, Esquire of Twyford Moors House, Hants, born in 1824. He married Caroline Grace, daughter of Thomas Clements Parr. Burke traces the lineage back to Reverend Jonathan Shipley, D.D., Bishop of St. Asaph, who was the son of Jonathan Shipley, of Leeds and Marth Davies. Jonathan married Anna Maria, daughter and co-heiress of George Mordaunt and had several daughters with her, (Anna Maria who married William Jones, Amelia who married William Charles Sloper, Georgiana who married Francis Hare Naylor, Elizabeth, and Catherine Louisa), as well as one son. The son was Reverend William Davies Shipley, Dean of St. Asaph, who married Penelope, daughter and co-heir of Ellis Yonge. He had issue with her, includes Reverend Charles Shipley of Twyford House, Rector of Mappowder. In 1821, Charles married Charlotte, daughter of Orby Sloper of West Woodhay, and had children with her: Conway Mordaunt (mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph), Reginald Yonge (Major General in command of the 2nd Brigage, Aldershot), William Davies (Major 40th regiment), Reverend Orby (born 1832, married Zoe Wilson), and Anna Maria (married Sir Walter Crofton). He died in 1834. The Shipley family crest was blazoned as follows in heraldry: Lozengy, argent and sable, a bordure of the last. Crest: Out of an earl’s coronet or, the bust of a Moorish prince proper, habited of the first wreathed about the temples argent and sable.
A one William Shepley was born between 1462-1522. He married Margaret (last name not known) and had a son with her named Robert. Robert Shipley was born in Riding, Northumberland, England in 1520. He married Anne Bradshawe and they had a son name Thomas. Thomas was born in 1543 in Halifax, Yorkshire, and he married Jane Hepworth, with whom he had the following issue: Thomas, William, Edward, and Richard. His son Richard was born in 1590 in the same town. He married Esther Rhodes and had two issue with her: Grace and Hugh. His son Hugh was born in 1624 in York, England. He married Elizabeth Bicke and had a son with her named Adam. Adam Shipley I was born in Yorkshire in 1655. He married Lois (surname not known) and went to Maryland. He had the following children: Richard I, Robert Sr., Lois (Porter), Keturah (Barnes), Peter, and Adam II. His son Richard was born in Anne Arundel county, Maryland in 1677. He married Susannah Stevens and had six children with her: Adam, Lois (Poole), Richard II, Samuel, John, and Peter. His son Adam married Ruth Tevis and had numerous issue with her: Adam, Margaret (Chaney), Ruth, Urath, Richard, and John. His son John was born in 1743 and he married Keziah Porter. They had the following children together: Ann, Adam, John, Rezin, Larkin, Peter, Richard, Ruth, Margaret, Enos, and Sarah. His son Richard was born in 1772 and married Ann Mary Rowles in Baltimore. They had five children together: Enos, William, Larkin, Sarah Maria, and Mary. His son Enos was born in 1796 and he married Priscilla Disney in Baltimore in 1837. He had the following issue: William Thomas, Louise Ann, Susanna Miller, Enos Henry, Mary Elizabeth, Roderick O., Lemeul Joshua, and Sarah Virginia. His son William Thomas married Leah Rebecca Wesley in 1869 and had the following children with her: Ira Wesley, William Claude, Isabel Virginia, Camsadel, Emory Morgan, and Nora LeCato. His son William Claude Shipley was born in 1873 and married Ina Smith, with whom he had two issue: Juliet Emma and William Smith. He died in 1949.
Early American and New World Settlers
Joseph Shipley, aged 21 years, came to Virginia aboard the Primrose in July of 1635. Other early settlers in colonial America with this surname were Adam Shipley (1668), William Shipley Jr. (Philadelphia 1750), Martin Shipley (New Jersey 1754), and John Shipley (Boston 1775). A one Robert Shipley went to the Barbados in the Caribbean in 1671. One of the first settlers in Canada with this last name was Thomas Shipley who settled in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1774. Matthew and Jane (husband and wife?) came to New Zealand in 1842 aboard the Prince of Wales. Several members of this family went to Australia aboard the Calabar in 1853.
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The Shipley family motto is Nec placida contenta quiete est, meaning “Nor is content with quiet repose”.
We have three coats of arms for the Shipley surname depicted here. These three blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it.
Famous people with this last name include: 1) Marie Ann Shipley (1899-1981) who was a Canadian politician who was a member of Parliament for Timiskaming, 2) Jonathan Shipley (1714-1788) who was a clergyman in the Church in Wales and Bishop of St. Asaph, 3) Reece Dodson Shipley (1921-1998) who was an American country singer, 4) Dame Jennifer Mary Shipley (1952) who was the 36th Prime Minister of New Zealand, and 5) William Shipley (1715-1803) who was an English drawing master and social reformer who founded The Royal Society of Arts.
Sir William Shipley (d. 1922), Mator of Windsor
William Davies Shipley (1745-1826), Anglican priest, Sean of St. Asaph
Jonathan Shipley (1714-1788), Bishop of Llandaff, Bishop of St Asaph, & Dean of Winchester