This rare surname is locational, the question is from where? It is of pre 8th century Olde English origins, and derives either from the village of 'Akley' in Berkshire, 'Acle' in Norfolk, or from a now 'lost' medieval place probably in the East Anglian region. The name derives from the words 'Ac leah' with 'ac' meaning 'oak' and 'leah', an enclosure in a forest or wood. It does seem as if Norfolk has provided some at least of the surname holders, as it is in this area that the name is most regularly recorded in early church registers, an example being William Akerly, who was christened on June 2nd 1687 at St. Peter's church, Parmentergate, Norwich. The first recording of the Berkshire "Akeley" is in the 1086 Domesday Book when it appears as Akiliea, and in 1175 as Akelay. The Norfolk "Acle" is also in Domesday Book as Acle, but then it changed to Achelai in the Pipe Rolls of 1159, before a near reversion to Aclee in the 1197 Feet of Fines. Among the early surname recordings in London is the christening of Peter Ackerley on August 26th 1677 at St. Pancras'church, Soper Lane. The coat of arms has the blazon of a red field, on a fesse engrailed between three leopards heads, three black cross crosslets fitchee. The crest is a griffins head erased. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johane Akerley, which was dated November 10th 1588, marriage to John Hickson, at St. Gregory by St. Paul's, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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