Recorded in many spelling forms including Dankersley, Dankerly, Donkersley, Dunkerley, Dunkersley, Dunklay, Dunckley, Dunklee, Duncklee, and possibly others, this is an English locational surname of early medieval origin. It derives from a now apparently "lost" place called Dunkerley, near Blackburn, in the county of Lancashire or the surviving Dunkenhalgh, in the same county. Dunkerley village was first recorded in the Assize Rolls of Lancashire in 1246 as "Dunkythele", and as "Dinkedelay" in the Pipe Rolls of 1257.The name is a development from the Ancient British (pre Roman) "Din-coed", composed of elements meaning "fort", and "wood", with the addition of the pre 7th century Old English "leah", a clearing. Early examples of the surname recordings include Robert Dunkerley, a "husband-man" or farmer of Crompstall, Lancashire, and recorded in the Wills Register of the city of Chester in 1588, John Dankersley, recorded at St Peters, Liverpool in 1710, and Henry Donkersley, who married Rebecca Bowker at Manchester Cathedral in 1711. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Dynkedlegh, which was dated 1332, in the Lay Subsidy of Lancashire. This was during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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