Recorded as Clorley and very occasionally as Clarely and Clearley, this is a surname which appears to be from the English county of Shropshire. Indeed before the 20th century it was rarely if ever found outside of Shropshire. It is obviously locational and from a place which is or was called Clorley, and if not either something near to it. However an inspection of the gazetters of the British Isles over the past three centuries has failed to provide any suitable candidate. On this basis we have to assume that we are dealing with a now "lost" medieval village of which the only reminder may well be the surname itself.The suffix "leah" means a fenced enclosure in a forest, although a more logical explanation is a farm, whilst the prefix has no obvious meaning at all! Assuming that the spelling is wrong but the pronunciation is correct, the prefix could have been "claw" as in say the village of Clawson in Leicestershire. However here the prefix was a Danish-Viking personal name Klak, which is possible for this name, but unlikely. An early recording from the church registers of Shropshire is that of Margaret Clarely at St Julien's Shrewsbury, on December 4th 1656, and later Robert Cloreley was a christening witness at Moreton Say, on April 26th 1700
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