Recorded in many forms including Hatherlee, Hatherleigh, Hatherley, Hatherly, and the aspirated Atherley, this is an English surname. It is locational and originates from the village of Hatherleigh, near Torrington, in the county of Devon, or Upper and Lower Hatherley and Hatherley Court, in the county of Gloucester. Wherever the surname is to be found the spellings are equally varied, which is often the case with English surnames. The simple fact is that until Victorian times less than 10% of the population could do much more than write their own name, and in consequence they were unable to check as to whether the name was being correctly entered in the registers. The surviving records suggest however that if the name has an epi-centre it is, or was, the county of Devon, and it is from the surviving records of that county that we have chosen to take our early recordings. Hatherleigh in Devon is first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Hadrelia' which is believed to mean 'Hawthorn wood.' This is also the interpretation of the Gloucester place names. Early surname recordings include Johannes Hatherley of Hartland, on July 23rd 1559 in the first year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, and John Hatherleigh who married Mary Wollicott at Merton, Devon, on June 13th 1601, whilst Arther Atherley is recorded at Heavitree, Exeter, on June 27th 1831..
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