TOWNSLEY Family History
Recorded as Townley, Towneley, and the dialectal Townsley, this is an English surname. It is almost certainly locational from the village called Towneley, near Burnley, in the county of Lancashire. There is also a place called Townley near Drogheda in Ireland, but there is no evidence at all that this village has ever originated any surnames, and certainly not of this spelling. The Lancashire placename is first recorded in the year 1201 a.d. as "Tunleia," and according to the Dictionary of English Place Names translates as the wood or clearing belonging to the town from the pre 7th century Olde English 'tun leah'.