This is a locational name from Beckley, a parish in Oxfordshire, or from Beckley near Rye in Sussex. The name derives from the Olde English elements 'becca' a pickaxe(user) and 'leah' a wood or clearing, and was originally applied to those who took up residence in a cleared area of land. The name spelt Beckelegh or Beckele in the 12 hundreds became Beckley in the 17th Century. One Simon Beckley of Berkshire married a Mary Winch in 1622, Canterbury Records. The spelling of the name remains unchanged to date. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Beckelegh. which was dated 1273 - The Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire. during the reign of Edward I, 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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