Last name: Worley

This medieval English surname, with variant spellings Vorley, Warley, Worsley, Worley, Woorsley etc., is of English locational origin. It can derive from any of a number of places in countied in such diverse counties as Lancashire, Somerset, and Essex, and the only slight indication of origin is that certain counties or regions are sometimes associated with specific spellings. The village names themselves have different meanings making the etymology of the name extremely complex. The Lancashire 'Worsley' is recorded as 'Werkesleia' in the 1196 Pipe Rolls of that county, and has for its first element the Old English personal name 'Weorchaeth', plus 'leah. This translates variously as 'a low-lying meadow' or a 'clearing in a wood'. The village of Worsley in Worcestershire, recorded as 'Worresley' in circa 1180, is so called from the Old English 'weorf' meaning '(yoke) oxen', and the suffix 'leah', to give 'the ox meadow'. The first recorded namebearers from these sources are respectively Geoffrey de Wyrkesle, in the charters of Lancashire for 1246, and Robert de Worvesle in the Hundred Rolls of Worcestershire for the year 1275. The villages of Warley in Essex and Somerset are so called from the Old English 'wer-leah', translating as 'the clearing by a weir'. Examples of the name recording taken from early church registers include Dyonesse Worley who married John Moorhouse on December 13th 1565 in Kirkburton, Yorkshire, whilst on October 2nd 1699 Edward Vorley married Mary Marriott at Christ Church Greyfriars, London, in the reign of William 111 of Orange and England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margaret Worley, which was dated January 19th 1542, married at St. Margaret's Westminster, London, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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