Last name: Atcherley

Recorded as Atcherley, Atherley, Atherly, Atchly, Atterley, and probably others, this is an English surname. It is unusual for several reasons. Firstly there is no such place as Atcherley or whatever, in any of the known surname spellings, making it a "lost" medieval village. Secondly until the 20th century the surname was almost always only recorded in the county of Shropshire, and nowhere else. Thirdly the surname is not recorded in any of the known dictionaries of surnames. It is almost certain that the now "lost" place of origin was called Atch-leah or similar, translating as the farm of the Eata people. They were apparently an early English tribe, whose name is also found in Atcham in Shopshire. Some five thousand surnames are understood to originate from lost villages in the British Isles, and this is almost certainly another for the ever growing list. Examples of recordings from surviving church registers of the county of Salop (Shropshire) include Anne Atchley christened at Ludlow on November 11th 1563, and Thomas Atcherley, christened at Bromfield on October 17th 1602.

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As a result of my own research into this family (from which I am descended), I believe the name was indeed taken from the place where the earliest members of the family lived. However, that place is not a lost medieval village and I do not agree that "there is "no such place as Atcherley or whatever." The place is now known as Aychley, and it is situated to the west of Market Drayton in Shropshire. Aychley Farm is a relatively modern addition, but Aychley Cottages are on the site of the original place, which for centuries was known as Acheley. For more details see the articles on my website, starting here: 13-part-2/ As for the origin of the place name, Richard Gough the historian of Myddle (who wrote about the Atcherleys of that parish) suggested that the name was derived from "Achesley the Oake Leasow". Acheley was known during the 1300s as Achesley, and there are documents dating back to that time mentioning Thomas de Achesley, his brother William de Achesley, and also Radulph de Achesley and a William de Achesleye.