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Welcome to the Tolley's of Devon

The name Tolley was derived from the name Tolle which goes all the way back to the Domesday book. It was originally a Nordic (Viking) name meaning tax collector.


The name Tolley was originally, TOLLE (French). They were Huguenots who fled France because of persecution by the Catholic majority. I understood that they were cannon makers for the Lords of La Rochelle, and the name derived from the noise made in making the cannon

or ...

The name came from the occupation the family once held, much like the Millers, the Coopers, the Smiths etc. The original Tolley's were the toll takers on bridges and were most common in the midlands.


The name of Talley or Tally is believed by some historians to be derived fro the French name of Tallie, while others state that it was taken from the ancient French word taillis, meaning;a copse or grove, because of the residence of its first bearers at a place of that description. It is from the last source that the English family of Tallis took it's name, and it is believed possible that this surname may have become Americanized to Talley.


The baptismal name of Bartholomew was frequently shortened in early times to Tholy or Tholyn, and it is considered probable that the Tolleys or Tollys derived their name from this source. But the two last-mentioned forms are used interchangeably with Talley and Tallly in the early American records.

Yet another possible derivation is from the residence of its first bearers in the Welsh town of Talley. Among the many early variants of the name are Taillis, Tailles, Tallis, Tallys, Toly, Toli, Taly, Tollye, Tallie, Tallye, Tailley, Talleye, Taulley, Tholy, Tholyn, Tolly, Tolley, Tally, Talley and others, of which the two spellings last mentioned are those most generally used in America today, while the two immediately preceding them are also frequently found. Of the English family of Tallis, there is recorded in the year of 1273 of one Richard Tailles, of County Cornwall. In the early sixteenth century one Thomas Tallis of Tallys, a noted composer of the cathedral music, who is believed to have been born about the year 1514 and to have died about 1585, was living in England; and about 1698 one Aaron Tallis was living in London.

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Information and enquiries should be sent to philliptolley@tolley.freeservers.com

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