This name is of English locational origin from Berkeley in Gloucestershire or from Berkley in Somerset. The former was recorded as Berchelai in the Domesday Book of 1086 and the latter as Berchelei. Both names derive from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Be(o)rc" meaning "birch" plus "leah", a wood or clearing. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 11th Century, (see below). The name is particularly well recorded in Scotland the earliest namebearer on record there being Walter de Berchelai or Berkelai from Gloucestershire who became Chamberlain of Scotland in 1165. Barclays Bank was founded by John Barclay (1728 - 1787) of Cambridge Heath in London. On May 5th 1695 Jane Barkley and Jeremiah Chevers were married at St. James Dukes Place, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de (of) Berchelai. which was dated 1086, The Domesday Book of Gloucestershire. during the reign of King William I, The Conqueror, 1066 - 1087. 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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