What’s In A Name?


A green plat in a valley, in the North of England, is called a haw; in Scotland, a small bit of ground, a haugh. Ley, leaz and lea are old Saxon words for a field or sward. Some one, once upon a time, or before time was, the knowing ones tell us, lived in a small green field. He had no surname, no one had, but, assuming airs—perhaps he had inherited some money—he chose a name. What more appropriate than haw-leaz—or, if a Scotsman, haugh-leaz, or lea? His friends and neighbors were requested to address him as Mr. Haugh-Leaz—”a hyphen, if you please.” The name looks well—quite imposing, indeed. But friends and neighbors—especially friends—sometimes feel called upon to discipline you for your good. “Haugh-Leaz, Esq.,” was too grand; the name might engender pride.

So they wrote him down Hauleigh, or Hawles, or Haylea, or Haley, or Haulley, or Haylea, finally arriving at Hawley. The name has also appeared in old documents as de la Haye, and de la Hagh. This means “of the hedge,” or, freely rendered, living near a hedge. This may have been the first form of Hawley. Hay, haye, or have, are old Saxon for hedge. Names perhaps derived from this root are Hay, Hayes, Haynes, Hawes, Haworth, Hawton, Haywood, Hayward, Hewood, Hayland, Eoundhay, and Lyndshay.
Chaucer used haw-haw for a farmyard, and churchhawe is church yard.

In Kent there is a village named Hayeleigh, and we find seats of the Hawleys in Kent—Leybourne Grange—as well as in Somerset and Derbyshire. The home in Kent is near that of the nobleman who had the following ambiguous notice posted up:

“Notice is hereby given that the Marquis of Camden (on account of the backwardness of the harvest) will not shoot himself nor any of his tenants till the 14th of September.”

Walter de Hauleigh is the first of the Hawley family of whom record is preserved, and of him we know but little. He was member of Parliament in the year of grace 1377. Thomas Hawley, messenger of the bedchamber to Henry VIIL, was with that monarch at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. He was appointed king of arms and herald, with the title, Clarenceux King of Arms. His heraldic Visitation of Essex, Surrey, and Hampshire, or a copy, is in the British Museum.

Sir Francis Hawley raised a troop of horse, at his own expense, for Charles I., who created him a baronet —Baron Hawley. Henry C. Hawley, brigadier-general, was second in command of cavalry at Fontenoy in 1745, succeeding to the command upon the death of the superior officer. He was in command at Ghent, and, according to Horace Walpole, frightened the magistrates out of their wits by kicking downstairs a messenger sent with a bribe. In his will, which is an eccentric one, he asks for a funeral without ostentation.

“I will have no show any more than if a poor soldier. Written with my own hand, because I have a poor opinion of the law.”

Benjamin Hawley was aide to Lord Hill at Waterloo.

The Hawleys have always loved books, many being veritable bookworms. There was Sir Joseph Hawley, born in 1813, a noted turfman, who won many a race with his thoroughbreds. He was devoted to books, and left the most valuable library in Kent. The Shakespeare scholar and librarian of the memorable library at Stratford-on-Avon was Frederick Hawley, born 1827.
He made a catalogue of all the known editions of Shakespeare’s plays in every language—the most complete
catalogue in existence.

Joseph Hawley, of Derbyshire, in 1629 started out to seek his fortune in the New World. He settled in Stratford, Conn., where he held the office of Town Clerk and Treasurer, which office proved no sinecure, for taxes were paid in wheat, peas, Indian corn, and the like, which the collector must store, sell, or deliver for shipment to distant markets. He was one of a committee to draft a patent, which is still preserved, signed by Governor Robert Treat. Another pilgrim was Thomas, who came from Derbyshire, in 1650, to Roxbury, Mass.

Patriots the Hawleys have always been, willing, when necessary, to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. True to their flag, they have fought hard in time of war. Gideon Hawley, of Connecticut, was chaplain in the French and Indian war. David, Nathan, and Abraham were in the Revolution. The chairman of the Massachusetts committee, sent to the Provincial
Congress, 1774, was Joseph Hawley of Northampton.

General Joseph Roswell Hawley, a member of the Southern branch of the family, and born in North Carolina, removed to Hartford, Conn., and was Governor of that State. The meeting for the organization of
the Republican party was held in his office, at his call, February 4, 1856. He was a believer in the American people and the “American way.”

Family tradition gives us much interesting data. There is the account of the marriage of Nathan Hawley, of Stratford, and Silence Mallory. Wedding ceremonies lasted several days, with dances and feasting and much merry making. When Nathan and Silence
wished to entertain their friends in their new home.that they might not incur a fine in case the guests remained after nine o’clock, they obtained permission for their party from a town officer. No one was allowed to entertain company after nine in the evening. Part of the frolic of a wedding celebration was to bar the pathway of the newly married, when they wended their way to their new home. Obstacles of various kinds were placed in their path; trees were sometimes felled,or grapevines tied across the road.

The arms reproduced, that of Thomas, of Roxbury, are :

Vert, a saltire or St. Andrew’s cross, engrailed, argent.  Crest: A dexter arm in armor, proper, garnished or, holding in the hand a spear, in bend, sinister, point downward, also proper. Motto : Suivez moi—”Follow me.” Et suivez moi is used as one Hawley motto. These are the arms of the present owner of Leybourne Grange, Kent. The crest of the Hawleys of County Hants, England, is a winged thunderbolt. This family is descended from Francis, Lord Hawley, so created in the seventeenth century. One member was Robert, who married Susan, daughter of Lord Save and Sele, for whom Saybrook, CT is named.

Regarding the symbolism of the arms reproduced, a saltire denotes resolution; engrailed signifies land or earth; an arm in armor, one fitted for performance of high enterprises; the spear was bestowed only upon a valiant soldier, and is emblematic of knightly serviceand devotion to honor.

From: Colonial Families of America, Frances M. Smith, Genealogical Company, New York, 1919.