Recorded in several forms including apparently Denley, Dinley, Denleigh, Dineley, Dyneley, and probably others, this is an English surname. It is locational from a now lost medieval place probably in the county of Devonshire as the first known recording is from that region. This was Robert de Denlegh, who appears in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of the county in 1372. The place and hence the surname appears to mean "The dean's farm"which was a logical explanation at a time when the church owned large estates throughout the country. Locational sutrnames were usually "from" names. That is to say surnames given to people either because they wee the local lords of the manor, or because they had left their original village to live somewhere else. As spelling was at best erratic and local accents very thick, spelling errors abounded and new forms were created. In this case examples of the name recording include Thomas Dyneley at St James church, Dukes Place, Westminster,on April 13th 1686, and Josiah Dinley at St Benets church, Pauls Wharf, city of London, on July 10th 1724.
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