This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from the parish of Cleveley near Garstang in Lancashire, or from Clevely, a hamlet north west of Woodstock in Oxfordshire. The former place was recorded as "Cliueleye" circa 1180 in the Cockersand Chartulary of Lancashire, and the latter appears as "Clivelai", circa 1210, and as "Cliveleia" in the "Registrum Monasterii de Winchelcumba", dated 1235. Both places share the same meaning and derivation, that is, the Olde English pre 7th Century "clif", slope, bank, cliff, and "leah", open place in a wood, glade. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. The surname first appears on record in the latter part of the 13th Century (below), and is variously recorded as Cleveley, Cleevely, Cleaveley, Clyveley and Cleevelay in 16th, 17th and 18th Century English Church Registers. On October 8th 1594, Joane Clyveley and William Coleman were married at Banbury, Oxfordshire, and on July 22nd 1740, Mary Cleevely married Thomas Moberry at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts two black chevrons, each charged with five gold horse nails, on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Clyveleye, 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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