This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a place thus called east of Hereford in Herefordshire, or from Catley in Lincolnshire. The former place was recorded as "Catesley" in the 1242 Feet of Fines for Herefordshire, and as "Cattelegh" in the 1251 Charter Rolls, whereas the latter appeared as "Catteleia" and "Kattele" in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire, dated 1197 and 1230 respectively. Both places are so called from the Middle English "catte", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "catt", cat, with the Old English "leah", a glade or clearing; hence, either a clearing frequented wild cats, or "Cat's clearing", from the use of "Catt" as a byname. Locational surname were developed when the former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. On November 26th 1562 Annys Catley and William Fulgam were married in Westborough cum Doddington, Lincolnshire, and on January 21st 1577 Elsabeth Catley married a William Unet in Bosbury, Herefordshire. Ann Catley (1745-1789), was a vocalist of renown and an extremely popular performer at Dublin, 1763-1770, and in London, 1770-1784. A Coat of Arms granted to the Catley family is red with six silver escallops. A hand erect holding a sealed letter proper is on the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Catley, which was dated 1540 Castle Donnington, Leicestershire, during the reign of King Henry V111, Bluff King Hal, 1509-1547. 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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