The English surname Stanley, also found in Ireland and Scotland, is an habitational name from any of the various places, for example in Derbyshire, County Durham, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, Wiltshire, and West Yorkshire, so named from Old English stan meaning “stone” and leah meaning ‘wood, or clearing.” The Stanley family who hold the earldom of Derby trace their descent from a companion of William the Conqueror, Adam de Aldithley. A branch of the family took the name Stanley when Adam's grandson married the heiress to the manor of Stanley in Staffordshire. Other famous people with the name include Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby (1508 - 1572), who signed a petition to Pope Clement VII for Henry VIII's divorce, 1530; and Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1815 - 1881) who was Dean of Westminster from 1864 - 1881. Today there are approximately 95,000 bearers of the surname Stanley living in The United States.
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