This uncommon name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name deriving from the place called Chearsley near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. The place is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in two forms, as "Cerleslai" and as "Cerdeslai", and appears as "Cherdeslea" in the Charter Rolls of 1313. The name is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Ceolred", composed of the elements "ceol", ship, and "raed", counsel, with "leah", thin wood, glade, clearing in a wood. Locational surnames, such as this, were acquired by local landowners and the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and who were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently produced a number of variant spellings of the surname, which has the following modern forms: Chearsley, Cheasley, Cheesley, Chesley, Charsley and Chartesley. Examples from Church Registers include: Charsseley (1544, Buckinghamshire); Chesley (1594, London); and Cheslee (1696, ibid.). The christening of James, son of James Cheesley, was recorded at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London, on September 19th 1715. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Cherdesle, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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