This long-established and distinguished surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from the parish of Annesley, south west of Mansfield, on the border of Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. Recorded as "Aneslei" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Aneslea" in the 1175 Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire, the place was so called from the genitive of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "An", from "an", one, and "leah", grove, clearing in a wood; hence, "An's leah". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Notable bearers of this name include: Sir Francis Annesley, Baron Mountnorris and first Viscount Valentia (1585 - 1660); Arthur Annesley, his son, who was made Earl of Anglesey in 1661; and Richard Annesley (1694 - 1761), Earl of Anglesey and Mountnorris and Baron Altham. Coming to Munster from Nottinghamshire in 1606, this name has been very prominent in the Anglo-Irish aristocracy since in all four provinces. The family Coat of Arms is a shield divided per paly of six silver and blue, over all a red bend. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir John de Annesley, Lord of Annesley, which was dated circa 1307, in "Early Medieval Records of Nottinghamshire", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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