This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, originating as a topographical name for someone who lived by an enclosure, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "aet" (Middle English "at"), meaning "at", and "hay, hey", meaning enclosure; hence, "at the enclosure". Modern variants of the surname include Athy and Atty. Topographical surnames, such as this, were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable and distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname itself first appears in the late 13th Century (see below). Early recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Alexander Attie and Agneta Lucke at St. Andrews, Enfield, on February 2nd 1561; the marriage of Johane Attie and Roger Tisdale at St. Gregory by St. Paul's Church, on April 28th 1566; and the christening of Henry Athie at St. Giles Church, Cripplegate, on August 13th 1592. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lecia Ateheye, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307 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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