From Wales via Devonshire
he name is not common in Wales today.
It exists in several counties in England, but at the time the first
Filley came to America in the 17th century the name was confined
mostly to the county of Devonshire in the Southwest part of England
just east of Cornwall and south of Wales. The spelling of the name is
various through the centuries as O' Fielly, Feely, Fihilley, Fiely,
Philleagh, Philley, and Filley. Its meaning is from the gaelic
Filied', with a silent "d". It means poet, songmaker,
or bard. One of the most famous of medieval castles in Europe is
Caerphilly in Wales near Cardiff. Although there is some controversy
about whether the name was originally Irish or Welch, it was definitely
Celtic. The rest is politics.
Yelland, M. T. Westbrooke, Genealogical Report completed for
Alice K. Filley Johns, (reprinted in the Filley/Philley Family
Newsletter), April 1987.
Woulfe, Patrick, Irish Names and Surnames, M.H. Gill and
Sons, Dublin, 1923.