This is an English locational surname. It is apparently locational from some now 'lost' medieval village in the county of Cheshire. The original medieval spellings are given as Clewlowe and Clulowind, whilst the modern spellings of the surname include Clewley, Clewlow, Clulee, Clulow, Cluley and Cluelow. These all suggest that the origination is pre 7th century Olde English, with the translation being "The dwellers on the steep hill" from the words clef hlaw, although another explanation would be the steep, windy hillside, not an unreasonable description for parts of Cheshire. It is estimated that in the isles of Britain there are to be found between three and five thousand lost medieval villages, most of which have given rise to surnames. In fact it is only the survival of the surnames which in many cases provide a public memory for the place itself. Locational surnames are often 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their former homes, to move somewhere else. Spelling being at best erratic over the centuries, it is not surprising that alternative spellings of the surname soon developed. In this case early developments included: Clulowind in Prestbury in 1655, Clewlow in Wilmslow in 1755, and Clulow in Chester in 1764. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Clewlowe. This was dated 1645, when he was baptised at Macclesfield, Cheshire, during the reign of King Charles 1st of England, and known as "The Martyr" 1625 - 1649. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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