The Comley Family

Ancestors, relations and anything else!

Anything connected to my own family history, and not involving COMLEYs is now being moved to a separate page, here.
I have started a re-design of my website with (hopefully) improved navigation (but no flashy whistles and bells) and it can be found here.



I am researching the Comley family and variations of the name. This branch of my family (my mother’s maiden name was COMLEY) seem to have originated in Wiltshire but there are other areas nearby, in Gloucestershire and Berkshire/Oxfordshire with large numbers of COMLEYs.

Index page links:
Oldest reference
BMD certificates
Census transcriptions
COMLEYs by place
Trade directories
Gedcom files
Mailing lists

I was told by my mother that her surname was spelled as COMLEY, and not COMELY, as a corruption of Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley), but looking back at records, there is no evidence for this. I now believe that the -LEY spelling is probably the oldest, but some branches became -ELY simply because of the way it was recorded by priests and later, registrars.  The name has been found as COMLEY, COMELEY, COMELY, COMLY, COMBLY and even (on a birth certificate as the father’s name) CRUMBLY! There are even more transcription errors, including, commonly, CORNLEY – an obvious mis-read of rn for m.
In Hampshire, the name seems to have changed to COMLAY in the first half of the 1800s. More on this can be found at Bob Comlay's website. has the following:

What does the Comley name mean?
Last Name: Comley
English: habitational name, probably from Comley in Shropshire or Combley on the Isle of Wight; both are named with Old English cumb ‘valley’ + leah ‘woodland clearing’.

As I have found no COMLEYs originating in Shropshire, and only one reference (a will) on the Isle of Wight, the above should be taken with a big pinch of salt!

Oldest Reference
The oldest reference yet found to a COMLEY is in Bristol Record Office. The following is from the Online Catalogue:
Smyth family of Ashton Court
Manor of Elmington in Henbury, Gloucestershire.

Level Item
RefNo AC/D/6/8
Title Lease 1) William Champeneys of Aylminton' 2) Edward de Leye two acres and four strips (seillones) of land of which one acre lies in the `cultura' which is called Emenhulle between land of William fitzWarun and of Thomas de Bradewelle and one head extends to the land of lord Richard de Greynvile at Hulkestede and the other to the meadow of Aylminton' and one acre lies at E---brygge ? between meadow of lord Richard de Greynvile and of William fitzWarun' and land of Robert de Bradewelle and one head extends to land of Nicholas de Berewyk' and the other to land of lady Simonda de Oldebury and the four strips lie in the field of Cumptone between land of Nicholas de Berewyk' and of Torephym de Aylminton' and one head extends to the wood of the said William Champeneis; to hold for term of his life paying annually to Wm. and his heirs 2s. at the four usual terms. For this grant Edward gives 7 marks of silver. Clause of warranty against all men and women Witnesses: Robert de Comley Thomas de Styntescumbe Thomas de Amby Nicholas de Berewyk' Walter Randulf of Cumptone.
Date [late 13C.]
AccessStatus Open

Nearly all the names given are in the form 'Someone of Somewhere' so is Comley a place somewhere in what is now North Bristol? It is possible that it is what is now known as Coombe Dingle. Was this once known as Coombe Leigh, reduced to Comley? If anyone has any suggestions, let me know!

Otherwise, the earliest references seem to be Gloucestershire, with Wiltshire (and an area near the Gloucestershire border) coming next.

Click on photos for larger pictures and details

Elizabeth COMLEY, nee Harding, and children,
the Great grandmother of Roberta DeMott-Friberg
Wedding of Harry John MEAD and Eleanor Margaret COMLEY

Birth, marriage and death certificates:
Jpeg format
Clicking on date will show the certificate (if available)
Name Spouse Birth Spouse's birth Marriage Death Spouse's Death
Joseph Comley Mary Marsh 1794     1878 1822
Elizabeth Tanner      
Ann Beechey 1817 ? 1893
Samuel Comley Frances Judkins 1812   1837   1845
Mary Ann Bransgrove (nee Judkins) 1811 1855
John Comley Caroline Parsons 1817 1820 1842 1891 1893
James Comley Jane Hall 1819   1843 1901 1846
Eliza Dye 1828 1848 1897
Jacob Comley Hannah Hedges 1820 approx   1847    
Charles Comley Mary Ann Davies 1821   1845    
William Comley Elizabeth Harding     1864    
John Comley Sarah Skull     1844    
Jacob Comley Mary Goulding (nee Holder) 1779   1847    
Charles Comley Lydia Kent 1817 1820 1855 1871-1881 1864
Eleanor Unknown   1818      
Jasper Comley Mary Ann Eatwell 1822   1844 1881 1862
Sarah Quinnell     1870    
George Comley Sarah Yearsley 1824 1825 1845 1871 1895
Edward Abree Comley Louisa Emma Dockrell 1829 1829 1849 1862  
John Comley Angelina Fry     1864    
Joshua Comley Emma Tibbolds     1868    
Mary Beechey Comley Job Thomas     1870    
Lander Elvin Comley Martha Curnow     1877    
Jacob Comley Emma Jones     1879    
William Comley Sarah Ann Douglis     1879    
William Comley Ann Elizabeth Saunders 1831 1834 1858 1907 1874
James Comley Mary Pierce Fuller 1838   1861    
John Muspratt Comley   1838        
James Comley Emma Harding 1839   1875    
George Comley Mary Cole 1840 1839 1863    
Hopkin Beech   1841     1853  
George Comley Rosanna Fitz 1841 1841 1860 1896 1891
Sophia Comley Stephen Fuller 1841        
Joseph James Comley   1843     1888  
Susannah Jane Comley   1843        
Jonah Weston Comley   1845     1845  
Edward Comley Ann Stevens 1846   1867    
George Daniel Comley Louisa Bailey 1846 1845 1868    
Joshua Comley   1846        
William Comley Elizabeth Humphries 1846 1847 1870    
John Comley   1849        
Jonah Comley   1849        
James Edward Comley   1852        
Mary Ann Henrietta Comley Henry William Dainty 1854   1871    
Josiah Comley   1856        
Harry Helton Comley Eliza Ann Garner     1885    
Henry James Comley (indexed as Cowley)   1865        
Ernest William Comley   1871        
Frank Comley   1880        
William Josiah Comley Edith Katharine Bird 1886   1914 1975 1953
Leonard Dudley Comley   1888        
Winifred Annie Comley   1889        
Helen Muriel Comley   1894        
Alan Victor Comley   1896        
Harry Helton Comley   1913        

Census Transcriptions:
These have now been moved to a separate page



Transcriptions of Wills
Johannes Comley of Corsham 1638
Aldeme Comley of Broad Somerford, 1652
Thomas Comley of Broad Somerford, 1723
Theophilus Comley of Great Somerford, 1763
James Comley of Weston Birt, 1775
Robert Comley of Weston Birt, 1796 (buried at Elberton)
John Comley of Cowhill, Thornbury, 1796 (buried at Westonbirt)
William Comley of Nettleton, 1800
John Comley of Didmarton, 1806
William Comley of Marshfield, 1832
Jane Comley of Southamton, 1845
John Comley Bootmaker, of St James, Westminster, 1846

Index of Wills from National Probate Calendar:
The index of names will now be found on the Wills page

COMLEYs found by Country, County and Place:
(The place index has now been moved to a separate page)

South Africa


Trade Directories:
Brian Beeche Comley has transcribed a number of these from the University of Leicester's Historical Directories website and they can be found by clicking here

Where I have found extra relating to specific individuals, there will be links to them.

James Comley (1819)

'The Lord's dealings' - a book written by James Comley, published in 1857
Music - James wrote the tune 'Malmesbury Abbey' used for A&M Hymn 'Six Days of Labour now are past'.
This can be heard at Cyber-Hymnal
Photographer - there is a 'carte de visite' by James Comley on Roger Vaughan's site
Front of photo Back of photo.
Harry Helton Comley (1863)
'In memoriam cards'
Ann Beechey (1817)
  Who was she?
George Comley (1821)
  Divorce from Louisa Caroline Comley, nee Harlow

Alumni Oxoniensis
This is a set of books listing all known members of Oxford University from 1500 to 1886. For further information see Archive CD Books, where they are available on CDs. All the following are from the first set (1500-1714). No COMLEYs were listed in the second set (1715-1886)

The following COMLEYs are listed:
Comley, Henry of co. Hereford. GLOUCESTER HALL, matric. 22 Nov., 1581, aged 18
Comley, James (Comly) 'seru.,' pleb. BALLIOL COLL., matric 23 Feb., 1647-8, aged 16
Comley, John (Comeley) of co. Gloucester, pleb. GLOUCESTER HALL, matric 12 April, 1594, aged 19
Comley, Richard 'serviens,' of co. Gloucester. ST JOHN'S COLL., matric. Nov., 1581, aged 15:
administration to a bachelor of these names, granted at Oxford 19 Nov., 1632

Canadian Expeditionary Force, WWI

The Canadian Government has scanned, and published on the web, the attestation papers of most of those who signed up for the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War One. Both front and back of the papers are shown.
The following COMLEYs are listed:

Name D.O.B. Place of birth Next of kin Relationship    
Edgar Henry Comley 14/5/1895 Swindon, England Mrs Ada Comley Mother FRONT  
Arthur Edwin Comley 29/6/1897 Swindon, Wiltshire Edwin Comley Father FRONT  
Francis Edward Comley 14/5/1884 Collingwood, Ont Elizabeth Comley Mother FRONT BACK
Frank Comley 10/9/1881 Broadtown, Wilts Wm Comley Brother FRONT BACK
Frank Comley 29/11/1897 Clifanety, Wilts Mrs Comley (Helen) Mother FRONT BACK
Frederick George Comley 16/1/1876 Chippenham, Wilts Mrs Elizabeth Comley Not given FRONT BACK
George Comley 26/2/1890 Ogmore Valley, Glam George Comley Father FRONT BACK
Percy Richard Comley 30/8/1896 Chippenham, Wilts Fred Comley Father FRONT BACK
William John Comley 22/9/1892 Stockton, Yorks William John Comley Father FRONT BACK
Arthur Comley, aka Arthur Matthews No details given          

Wiltshire Militia:
Comleys who served in the Wiltshire Militia:

Name Born Enlisted Age
Comley, Isaac Chippenham 22 May 1894 25 years
Comley, James Mordon, Swindon 30 Oct 1895 17 years 9 months
Comley, John Cleve, Wootton Bassett 28 Dec 1893 18 years 1 months
Comley, John Bradford, Wilts 19 Jan 1899 18 years
Comley, Richard Wootton Bassett 19 July 1893 17 years 10 months
Comley, Robert Wootton Bassett 26 Jan 1898 18 years 3 months
Comley, William Wootton Bassett 11 Nov 1887 18 years
Comely, John Swindon 26 Jan 1907 30 years 4 months
Combley, Isaac Chippenham 9 Apr 1888 17 years 6 months
The above was taken from The Wardrobe, the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment Museum (now 'The Rilfes') website

Old Bailey Proceedings:
Henry and Edmund Comley 1828
James Comley a constable, 1801
James Comley, Beadle of Queenhithe Ward, 1804
James Comley, Beadle of Queenhithe Ward, 1805
James Comley, Beadle of Queenhithe Ward, 1805

Gedcom files:
Gedcoms files are loaded on WorldConnect. There should not be any living persons shown.

Click for my Comley Gedcom on WorldConnect site. This has all Comleys, with the exception of those related to me, that I have found so far, with descendants.

Click for my Mead Gedcom on WorldConnect site. This has all ancestors including COMLEYS with a connection to me

Mailing lists:
Line Mailing Lists On RootsWeb subscribe L Subscribe D Line
Comley list

There is a mailing list for the discussion and sharing of information regarding the Comley surname and variations in any place and at any time. To subscribe send "subscribe" as both subject and message to (mail mode) or (digest mode) or use the buttons above. You are unlikely to be inundated with e-mails from this list - it is fairly quiet!

An archive of previous messages can be viewed.

It is intended to include some of my other ancestor details here as well – it may lead to other links turning up and brick walls being demolished!