This name is of English locational origin from a place thus called at the foot of Owl Hill, Lancashire. Recorded as Clegg circa 1200 and as Cleg in the 1285 Assize Court Rolls of that county the name derives from the Olde Norse 'kleggi' meaning 'haystack', originally believed to be the name of the above hill. The surname was first recorded in the mid 13th Century, (see below). In 1379 one, Ricardus de Cleghe and a Henricus de Cloghe appeared in 'The Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire', and in 1581 Thomas Clegg, tanner, of Middleton, was entered in 'The Wills Records at Cheshire'. The name is particularly well recorded in Lancashire church registers from the late 16th Century. On April 17th 1582 Alice, daughter of John Clegg, was christened in Manchester Cathedral, and on July 19th 1598 Alice Clegg and Adam Wild were married in Oldham. Samuel Clegg, the elder, (1781 - 1861) was a pioneer of gas-lighting in Yorkshire and London (1813). He also invented the water gas-meter. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas de Clegg, which was dated 1260, Baines' History of Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry III, The Frenchman, 1216 - 1272. 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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