Apparently recorded in a range of spellings including Davsey, Davley, Daveley, and Davsley, this is an English surname. The constituent elements suggest that the original spelling may have been 'dav-leah' or similar, from pre 7th century Olde English. This would translate as 'the farm of the Dafa people' or similar, although no such place has been recorded in any similar form in the gazetters of England of the past two hundred years. This suggests that the surname however spelt, is one of the estimated five thousand British surnames which originate from now 'lost' medieval settlements, or even in some cases, and possibly this one, single farms.In the period of the Elizabethan times through into the 18th century, successive generations of landowners obtained rights under the Enclosure Acts, to fence off the common lands. When this happened a whole village might be 'cleared', and the tenants driven off to seek a new life elsewhere. These unfortunate people then took as their surname, the name of their former village. Spelling being at best erratic, lead to the developement of variant forms. Examples of this surname include: Jone Daveley who married John Lockley at Allhallows church in the city of London, on January 24th 1590, John Davcy and his wife Bridgett, at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on April 13th 1683, and George Davley, at the church of St Johns, Smiths Square, Westminster, on March 14th 1743.
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