An Olde English locational name which derives from 'braer-leah', meaning 'the dweller at the enclosure or farm amongst the briars' or from one of the villages called Brearley or Brierley found in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Hereford, Warwickshire etc. There are several alternative modern spellings or variants which are Brearley, Brierley, Briarley, Brealey and Brierly but all derive from the pre 6th century English origins. The name development has included Brerelay (c.1320), de Brerly (1275 Yorkshire), Margaret Braley married John Lort on the 31st January 1743 in Ulrome, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ivatta de Brerelay which was dated 1248 The Assize Court of Stafford during the reign of King Henry 111 the Frenchman 1216-1272 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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