The English surname Galley is of occupational origin, being derived from the work, trade or profession of the original bearer. In this instance, the surname Galley signifies 'one who worked as the seaman, the galleyman, the rower.' The occupational name Galley is derived from Middle English 'galye', from the Old French 'galie' meaning 'ship' or 'barge'. Alternatively, the surname Galley is a variant of the nickname and local name Galilee. In this case, the surname Galley signifies 'one who was nicknamed Galilee,' named for someone who had been on a pilgrimage to Galilee in the Holy Land or 'dweller at the Galilee,' from the Old French 'Galilee' meaning 'porch or chapel at the entrance to a church.' A galilee exits at Lincoln, Ely, and Durham cathedrals. Finally, the surname Galley is a variant form of the Scottish surnames Gally and Gallie. These names are also of nickname origin, being derived from the Gaelic 'gallaich' meaning 'stranger or lowlander.' The name was applied to the lowland Englishmen and Norsemen who were strangers in Scotland.