This is an English locational surname. It originates from the village of Brockley, a place near Bury St Edmunds. The name was originally given to the lord of the manor of Brockley, and it is possible that all later nameholders descend from this same Peter de Brokely as shown below. The name means "the cleared lands by the waterside", from the pre 7th century Olde English "broc-legh". The term "broc" did not always mean a Brook or small river, but could also be used to describe a lake or fen, quite likely in this case. The surname is well recorded in the early registers of the East Anglia region and particularly in the county of Norfolk, although boundaries have changed over the centuries, and this may be misleading. Early examples taken from authentic charters include Lescilina de Brokeley, a lady landowner in Norfolk about the year 1250, William de Brokkeley, the rector of Howe, also in Norfolk, in 1325, and John Brocklee, another rector, this time of North Lynn, Norfolk, in the year 1420. Clearly early Brockley's had a close association with the church. The earliest known recording is that of Peter de Brokely, who may have been the brother of Lescilina de Brokely. He is recorded in the land charters of Norfolk for the years 1227 to 1239. This was in the reign of King Henry 111, 1216 - 1272.
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