This interesting and unusual name is of Medieval English origin and is a dialectal variant of either of two locational names, both situated in Shropshire, "Cloverley" or "Cluddley". The first recording of Cloverley is "Claverleg" in the Hundred Rolls of 1255, and derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "claefre", meaning clover, with "leah", a grove, while "Cluddley" was recorded as "Clotleye" in 1296, as "Clotlegh" in 1301, and derives from the Old English "clate", burdock, with "leah", thus "a grove where burdock grew". During the Middle Ages, when it became more common for people to migrate further afield from their locality to seek work, they would often adopt the placename as a means of identification. In Christchurch, Wellington, Shorpshire, Richard Cluley was christened on February 21st 1713. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Clulie (christening), which was dated July 31st 1566, in the "St. Mary's, Whitechapel, Stepney", during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Mary Queen of Scots", 1553 - 1558. 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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