There are a number of places in England called Darley, including Darley Dale in Derbyshire, Darley Bridge in the same county, Darley Hall in Hertfordshire, and Darley Head in Yorkshire. Curiously the Dictionary of English Places Names, a book which omits almost as many names as it includes, refers only to Darley village in Derbyshire and Darley Abbey, also in Derbyshire. This place is recorded in 1199 as Derlega, which means deer wood or possibly deer farm, whilst Darley village is first recorded in Domesaday Boo in 1086, and has the same meaning. Indeed as far as we have been able to research all places called Darley have the meaning of the deer wood or possibly in some cases 'Dear's wood', with Dear being an early English personal name. Locational surnames were uisually names given to the local lord of the manor and his descendants or to people who left their original home and moved somewhere else. In so doing they took, or were given, as easy identification, the name of their former village or town. It is unclear as to when the name was first recorded but it is a regular in the surviving poll tax rolls of the year 1379. These recordings include John de Derlye of Yorkshire and Richard de Derleg of Derbyshire whilst in the church registers of the diocese of Greater London we have the recording of Elizabeth Darley at St James Clerkenwell in 1587.
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