This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Church Leigh in Staffordshire, near Uttoxeter. The placename is recorded as simply "Lege" in 1002, and again as "Lege" in the Domesday Book of 1086; the addition of "Church" to the placename occurred during the Middle Ages. The name means "the church in the cleaning", from the Middle English "church", church, and the Old English pre 7th Century "leah", glade, clearing in a wood. Locational surnames were acquired mostly by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were there after best identified by the name of their birthplace. The modern surname can be found as Churchley and Churchly. Rebecca Churchley was christened on January 13th 1566 in Bermondsey, London, and the marriage of William Churchley an Elizabeth Taylor was recorded in Arrow, Warwickshire, on September 19th 1641. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robertus Churcheley (marriage to Agnes Chirke), which was dated January 17th 1549, Woothon Wawen, Warwickshire, during the reign of King Edward V1, "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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