Wrigley: First records of surname

The first record of the surname is that of William de Wriggeley in the Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire, dated 1327. Willelmus Wryglegh (Willellms Wrigglegh) of Saddleworth was recorded in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire in 1379.1-5 Poll Tax referred to the personal taxation system imposed on every person over the age of fourteen. It was introduced by King Richard II (1367 – 1400) to enable England to carry on with the Hundred Years’ War (1337 – 1453) with France.6,7

In 1455 the 97-year old Robert Wrigley, a resident from the hamlet Frairmere near Saddleworth was a witness providing evidence about the Frairmere tithes. In that same year Henry Wrigley, a farmer of Saddleworth, was pursued in the courts for a debt. From 1524 John Wrigley leased half a farm at Old Tame, a hamlet just north-west of Saddleworth, while Ralph and Christopher Cheetham had already leased the other half since 1515. The Cheetham holding appeared to have been in mortgage to Henry Wrigley.4,5,8,9 In 1539 Richard Wrigley was a tenant of the Nuns of Kirklees of the Kirklees Priory, a Cistercian nunnery, and held land in Saddleworth paying 6s 8d per year. This appears to have been part of Diglee, a small village just north of Saddleworth.5,10

By the mid-16th century, the surname was also well recorded in the south-eastern part of Lancashire (incorporated into Greater Manchester since 1974). On 10 July 1544 in the hamlet Mydleton (now Middleton), just west of Oldham, Alice Wrigley married William Saxon. In 1577, Roger Wrigley of Bolton, approximately 20 km west of Oldham, was Curate of Oldham. Edmund Wrigley, son of Hugh Wrigley was christened on 10 November 1588 in that same parish. At Rochdale, Mary, daughter of James Wrigley was christened on 5 April 1584, Edward Wrigley of Mydleton got married there on 30 May 1586 and John Wrigley was married on 17 December 1599. On 28 August 1664, the matrimonial ceremony between Edmund Wrigley and Jane Stocke was conducted at Rochdale. At Saddleworth, just north-east of Oldham, John Wrigley was recorded in 1620 and Margaret Wrigley in 1635.1-3,8,9,11-13


  1. Last name: Wrigley. http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Wrigley
  2. Reaney, P.H. (& Wilson, R.M.) 1961. A dictionary of British surnames. 2nd Ed. Routledge and Kegan Paul: London
  3. Hurndall, R. 1933 History of the Wrigley family of Netherton, Yorkshire. Copy made available in July 2018 by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England.
  4. Barrow, N. 2020 In search of the early Wrigleys. Saddleworth Historical Society Bulletin, Vol 50 (1)
  5. Buckley, M. 17 July 2001. Wrigley  family. e-Mail communication. (Copy of communication received on 25 November 2020 from Richard Lyne of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England)
  6. Richard II of England. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_II_of_England
  7. Hundred Years’ War. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Years%27_War
  8. Historical maps. A vision of Britain through time. https://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/maps
  9. Saddleworth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddleworth
  10. Kirklees Priory. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirklees_Priory
  11. Oldham. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldham
  12. Rochdale. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochdale
  13. Middleton, Greater Manchester. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middleton,_Greater_Manchester