This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from the parish of Budleigh, near Exeter in Devon, which was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Bodelie". The placename is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "budda", beetle, (or the personal name "Budda") and "leah" a wood or clearing. The father of Sir Thomas Bodley (1545-1613), who founded the Bodleian Library in Oxford spelt his name "Bodleigh", and was descended from an ancient family of Bodleigh, Budleigh from Dunscombe-by-Crediton. During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. William de Bodele was listed in the "London Pleas Records of Edward 1st to Edward 111", in 1292, while the same records note one Dennis de Buddelegh in 1292. Sir Josias Bodley (1550-1618) younger brother of Sir Thomas, was Governor of Newry and trenchmaster at the sieges of Kinsale (1601), Waterford (1603); he was appointed director-general of fortifications in Ireland for life, in 1612. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Bodele, which was dated 1273, "The Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward 1st, "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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