This interesting and most unusual surname is a dialectal variant of "Chalkley", which is of English locational origin from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand lost villages and hamlets which have disappeared from maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and "dispersal" of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348 also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The original place believed to be in South England, where the surname itself is most widespread and where chalk hills abound, was apparently so called from the Old English elements "cealc", chalk, and "leah", wood, clearing. One Ane Chalkley was christened on January 25th 1578 at St. Margaret's, Lothbury, London, while one John, son of Richard Chaukley was christened there also on August 30th 1579. Robert Chalkley married Annes Ellice at Finchley, London on June 17th 1618, while at St. Giles Cripplegate, London, Thomas Chawkley married Frances Tebbat on April 4th 1645. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Chankley, which was dated December 19th 1574, christening witness at St. Margarets, Lothbury, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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