This interesting northern English medieval surname, recorded in the spellings of Galley, Gally, Galey, Gally, Galilee and Gallally, has two possible origins. The first is occupational, and a metonymic or nickname for a galley-man, one who owned or sailed on a galley. A galley was a vessel which was principally driven by oars rather than sail, and whilst on the continent of Europe it generally described a warship, in England the meaning was more prosaic. Here it described a low built, flat bottomed vessel, used in rivers and shallow estuaries, and navigated with both sails and oars. The derivation is from the French word 'galie' and this was probably introduced after the 1066 Norman Conquest. The second origin is more romantic and open to conjecture. In the Middle Ages the word 'galilee' described the porch of certain churches, particularly that of Durham Cathedral. A family called 'Galilee' have been recorded in that area since the time of Edward 11, 1307 - 1327. It is also known that the spelling of this name also 'developed' into Galley and Galey. Early examples of the surname recording include William de la Galilye of Durham in 1337, Adam del Galay of York, in the Friary Rolls of 1304, and John Galley of Newcastle upon Tyne, in 1540. Amongst the earliest settlers in the New World was Thomas Galley, aged 20, who left London, England, on 'the 13 die octobris 1635' aboard the ship 'Amitie'. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Galye, which was dated 1219 - in the Assize Court Rolls of the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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  • Galley — Gal ley, n.; pl. {Galleys}. [OE. gale, galeie (cf. OF. galie, gal[ e]e, LL. galea, LGr. ?; of unknown origin.] 1. (Naut.) A vessel propelled by oars, whether having masts and sails or not; as: (a) A large vessel for war and national purposes;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • galley — (n.) c.1300, from O.Fr. galie, from M.L. galea or Catalan galea, from Late Gk. galea, of unknown origin. The word has made its way into most Western European languages. Originally low, flat built seagoing vessel of one deck, once common in the… …   Etymology dictionary

  • galley — ► NOUN (pl. galleys) 1) historical a low, flat ship with one or more sails and up to three banks of oars, often manned by slaves or criminals. 2) a narrow kitchen in a ship or aircraft. 3) (also galley proof) a printer s proof in the form of long …   English terms dictionary

  • galley — [gal′ē] n. pl. galleys [ME galeie < OFr galie < ML galea < MGr galaia, kind of ship < Gr galeos, shark < galeē, weasel (in reference to its speed)] 1. a long, low, usually single decked ship propelled by oars and sails, used esp.… …   English World dictionary

  • galley — has the plural form galleys …   Modern English usage

  • Galley — For other uses, see Galley (disambiguation). A model of a Maltese design typical of the 16th century, the last great era of the wargalley A galley is a type of ship propelled by rowers that originated in the Mediterranean region and was used for… …   Wikipedia

  • Galley — Verschlossene Galley eines Zuges, am Wagenende der Club Klasse, der höchsten der drei Klassen im Velaro E …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • galley — galleylike, adj. /gal ee/, n., pl. galleys. 1. a kitchen or an area with kitchen facilities in a ship, plane, or camper. 2. Naut. a. a seagoing vessel propelled mainly by oars, used in ancient and medieval times, sometimes with the aid of sails.… …   Universalium

  • Galley —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie des personnes (réelles ou fictives) partageant un même patronyme.  Pour les articles homophones, voir Galet, Gallet, Gallait, Gallé et Galey (homonymie). Garry Galley, un ancien joueur de hockey… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • galley — n. (pl. eys) 1 hist. a a low flat single decked vessel using sails and oars, and usu. rowed by slaves or criminals. b an ancient Greek or Roman warship with one or more banks of oars. c a large open rowing boat, e.g. that used by the captain of a …   Useful english dictionary

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