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About the study

My name is Linda Stockdale.  I started researching my family history in 1987 and over the years have developed a particular interest in my maiden name Wheatley.  I have come to realize that my interest has broadened to include learning about Wheatleys all over the world.

Name origin

Wheatley is a topographical name derived from the words hwoete (wheat) and leah (a clearing).  An early reference found in Nottinghamshire 1315 was made to Arnolde Whetelay.


Genealogy of the Wheatley or Wheatleigh Family, compiled by Hannibal P. Wheatley, M.D., published in 1902:

“It seems that the Wheatleighs were Protestants early in the 17th century.  In the fall of 1626, Charles I of England sent a naval force to Dieppe for the use of Lewis, King of France, against the Huguenots at La Rochelle.  The sailors discovered his purpose and objected.  They drew up a remonstrance to Pennington, their commander, and signing all their names in a circle lest he should discover the ring-leaders, they laid it under his prayer book. This we believe to be the first record of a ‘Round Robin.’  In this circle we find the name of A. Wheatleigh, from Wells, Somerset, England.  Admiral Pennington declared ‘that he would rather be hanged in England for disobedience, than fight against his brother Protestants on the continent.’  And the whole squadron sailed for home.  But La Rochelle, the Huguenots headquarters, fell into the hands of the French in 1628, and they were scattered, many coming to Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina.  In these settlements were several Wheatleighs.  Many of their descendants still live in these localities.  Three Wheatleys are known to have come to New England.”

History of the name

Places named Wheatley:

  • Wheatley, Yorkshire, England.
  • Wheatley, Oxfordshire, England.
  • Wheatley, Nottinghamshire, England.
  • Wheatley, Western Australia, first used as a timber mill by the Wheatley family in 1912.
  • Wheatley Heights, New York.
  • Wheatley, Arkansas, named for Wheatley Dennis.
  • Wheatley, Kentucky, named for Rev. George W. Wheatley.
  • Wheatley, Ontario, in southwestern Ontario, Canada on Lake Erie, named for Richard Wheatley, its first permanent settler.
  • Wheatley River, Prince Edward Island.


Notables with the surname:

  • Alan Wheatley, actor, starred as Sherlock Holmes 1951 BBC Series; portrayed the Sheriff of Nottingham in the Robin Hood Series.
  • Glenn Wheatley, Australian musician.
  • Dennis Yeats Wheatley, English author.
  • Kevin Wheatley, Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, killed while defending his comrade during Vietnam War.

Name frequency

The most occurrences of the surname may be presently found in Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and United States.