This name, with variant spelling Bully, is either of French or English locational origin. In the first instance, the name drives from any of the several places in Normandy called Bouille, for example, Bouille (La Manche), so called from Old French personal byname 'Bouille' given to a maker of 'bouilles' i.e., baskets used to gather harvested grapes, plus the locational suffix 'acum', a village or settlement. In the second instance, the villages of Bulley, (Gloucestershire); Bulleigh Barton, (Devonshire), or the ancient lands called Buleia, (Worcestershire), have given rise to the surname. All these places are named with the Old English pre 7th Century elements 'bula', a bull, plus 'leah', a clearing in a wood. One, Reginald (de) Bulega appears in the 1185 'Pipe Rolls of Warcestershire', and a Hugh de Bolley in 'The Hundred Rolls of Devonshire', dated 1272. On August 27th 1548 Alice Bully, an infant, was christened in St. Mary Abbots, Kensington, London, and on August 13th 1559 Katherin Bulley was christened in St. Dunstan's in the East, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Buili, which was dated 1086 - in the Domesday Book for Warwickshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as 'The Conqueror', 1066 - 1087. 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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