This is an English locational surname. Recorded as Archley and Arkley, it originates from the village of Arkley, near the town of Barnett in Hertfordshire. There are several opinions as to the meaning of the place name, and hence the later surname. The first and most likely is "Arnkell's leah", with Arnkell being a popular pre 8th century Viking personal name. This appears in a number of similar sounding village names such as Arkengarthdale in North Yorkshire or Arkleby in Cumbria. "Leah" has a number of meaning, but again the most likely is an area of cultivated ground in a forest, in other words a field or a farm itself.The second is as a form of "eorcon", an early word which meant pure or clean, and was sometimes applied to rivers and ponds. Arkendale originally in West Yorskhire but now in North Yorkshire, was recorded as Erkenden in the year 1246, and this could mean the pure stream through the valley (denu). Not surprisingly this surname is well recorded in the surviving registers of London. Early examples include Edward Archlye at St Stephans Coleman Street, in the city of London, on September 1st 1594, and the interesting one of Elizabeth Arkley, who married John Shoobert (as spelt) at St Edwards Lombard Street, on October 15th 1771.
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