Recorded as Blakesley and Blakeslee, this surname is English and locational. It originates from a place called Blakesley, near Towcester, in the county of Northampton. Recorded as "Blaculveslea" in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century words "blaec" meaning black, "ulf" a wolf, and 'leah', which can have a dual meaning of either a wood, or a fenced enclosure, one which is cleared for agriculture. In this case it may well be the wood of "Black wolf", the latter probably being an early unrecorded personal name. Surnames of locational origins are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification, after they left their original homes to move elsewhere. This may be the next village or in some far away spot, as appears to be the case with this name. Early examples of the surname recording include: Mary Blakesley who married Thomas Belley in London in 1624, whilst Thomas Blakeslee married Rachel Dukes at St. Michael's Cornhill, also city of London in 1723. An interesting name bearer was Joseph Williams Blakesley (1808-85), a Times Corrpespondent, he was the canon of Canterbury in 1863. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Blakesle. This was dated 1199, in the Assize Court Rolls of the county of Staffordshire, during the reign of King Richard 1st known as 'The Lionheart', 1189-1199 Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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