Recorded as Baillie, Baily, Bailey, Baly, Ballay, Bailey, Bayley, and others, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname of several possible origins. The first is occupational and describes a steward or court official. This is from the Old French word "baillis," and survives in Scotland as "bailie", the title of a municipal magistrate. In England it has developed into "bailiff", an officer of the court. The second source is topographical, denoting one who lived by the Bailly, the outermost wall of a castle or fortified town, as in the Old Bailey in the city of London which was part of the medieval walls. Thirdly, the surname can be locational, from a place called Bailey, in the county of Lancashire. This place name seems to have had the original meaning of 'berry farm', although other interpretations are possible. Early examples of the surname recording include Roger le Baylly in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Suffolk in the year 1230, whilst the Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire record Ralph de Baylegh in 1246. Walter Bayly (1529-1593) was Queen Elizabeth's physician, and William Bayley (1782-1860) was the Governor-general of India (1828-1830), and later a director of the East India Company. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger le Bally, which was dated 1199, in the Pipe Rolls of Suffolk, during the reign of King John, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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