Recorded as Cauley, Cawley, Cowley and Kewley, this is a surname which can be of English, Irish or Manx origin, of which it has two fronf totally different sources. The first is English, locational, and a dialectal variant of the place name Cowley as found in the counties of Buckinghamshire, Devonshire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Cloucestershire and Middlesex. Here the name means "charcoal wood" from cufl, an Olde English word meaning a log or stump, used in the production of charcoal.Early recordings of the surname from such sources include Osbert de Couela of Oxfordshire in 1167, and William de Colley, of Derbyshire, in 1327. The second possibility is that the name is a Manx contraction of the Irish-Scottish name MacAuley, from "ghaidy" meaning a willow withe . As Cowley, Cawley and Kewley they are particularly widespread in the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Cheshire and Lancashire. William Cawley (1602-1667), was the founder of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Chichester in, 1626, and one of the judges of King Charles 1st in 1649. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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