This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from either of two places in Devonshire called "Cobley". The placename means "Cobba's wood or clearing", derived from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name "Cobba", originally a byname for a "large" man, with "leah", thin wood, galde, clearing in a wood. Locational surname were mostly acquired by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their former birthplace. The modern surname can be, found as Cobley and Cobleigh. The marriage of Robert Cobley and Margaret Smoote was recorded on May 5th 1586 at St. Mary Major, Exeter, in Devon and one, Balthazer Cobley was christened in Atherington, Devonshire, on August 24th 1592. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Coblye, which was dated December 14th 1541, christened in Barnstaple, Devon, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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