This interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is a locational surname deriving from either of the two places called Blakeney, the one in Gloucestershire and the other in Norfolk. The place in Gloucestershire is recorded as "Blachen" in 1185, and as "Blakeneia" in the 1196 Pipe Rolls of the county, and means "black island", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "blaec", black, with "eg, ieg", island. Interestingly, the place in Norfolk was originally named "Snitterley", and was recorded as "Snuterlea", in the Domesday Book of 1086, meaning "Snytra's clearing", from the Olde English personal name "Snytra", with "leah", wood, glade, clearing. The place had become "Blakenye" by 1242, when it was recorded as such in the Norfolk Close Rolls. The marriage of Richard Blackney and Alice Wyatt was recorded at Bisley in Gloucestershire, on March 22nd 1686. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Blakeneye, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of London", 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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