Recorded as Blackledge and Blacklidge, this very unusual surname is English. It is locational and originates from a now "lost" medieval village thought to have been near to the town of Leyland in the county of Lancashire, and called Black Leache. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'bloec' meaning 'black' plus 'loece', a boggy stream. The surname from this source is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century, (see below), whilst Nicholas Blackleech of Leyland, was 'doctor of phisick to King Henry VIII' in 1535. The spelling Blackledge is particularly well recorded in the church registers of Lancashire from the late 16th century, and examples include those of Alicia Blackledge who on May 15th 1565, married a Willmus Wyton at the village of Standish, whilst on November 27th 1579, Richard, the son of Ewan Blackledge, was christened at Ormskirk. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John del Blakelache, of Leyland. This was dated 1332, in the Lay Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 111rd of England, 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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