The primary source of this uncommon surname is the parish and village of Betley, north west of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, containing the ancient country manors of Betley Court and Betley Hall. Recorded as "Betelege" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Bettelega" in the 1175 Pipe Rolls of Staffordshire, the place was so called from the female given name "Bette", with the Olde English pre 7th Century "leah", glade, open place in a wood; hence, "Bette's leah". The neighbouring Balterley, Barthomley, and Audley are all named from women.Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal influences subsequently produced changes on the original spelling of the name, which is now found in English Church Registers as Bet(t)ley, Betteley, Beteley and Bat(t)ley. The last mentioned spelling indicates confusion with Batley, a parish in the West Riding of Yorkshire which may, in part, be the source of the surname Bettley. On October 7th 1566, Katherine Beteley and Robarte Walker were married at Sheriff Hales, Shropshire, and on March 3rd 1727, Joshua, son of John and Jane Bettley, was christened at St. John the Baptist, Chester, Cheshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Bateley, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire", 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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