Petleys of Downe
I have been making substantial progress tracking our Petley ancestors back through history.
My recent focus has been on the early Petley settlement of Downe, Kent, England. This is the first recorded place where our ancestors are recorded as early as the 1200s.
Downe, often spelt Down, takes its name from its high situation; the name likely originating from the Old English, Anglosaxon noun, dún for mountainous/hilly. Downe is in the historic county of Kent but as of 1965, is considered part of the Bromley Borough of Greater London. The first seat of the Petley’s, located to the south in the town, the Manor of Down-Court.
I believe our first ancestor to be John “Johannes” Petle living in the time of King Henry III who reigned 1216-1272. Some sources disagree on the name, instead favouring Richard “Richardus” Petle. It would be another few hundred years before the name would be spelt Petley.
Sources on this period are limited at best, however due to the families prominence, they feature heavily in various visitations from c. 1600-1800. There are also various letters and wills available for the Petleys from c. 1500 onwards. Many of these early records contain lots of handwritten Latin and varied heavily on spelling to what would be used today.
More information on the early Petle family will be included in my book, including a full pedigree chart.