This interesting surname is of English locational origin from a place called Dearnley in Lancashire. The placename is recorded as Dernylegh in the Court Rolls of Lancashire (1324) and derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "dierne" a secret or hidden plus "leah" an open place in a wood or clearing; hence a "hidden solitary clearing". The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 17th Century, (see below). One, Richard Dearneley, of Manchester, is noted in the History of East Cheshire (1677). In the modern idiom the surname has numerous variant spellings including Dearnaly, Dearnaley, Dearnley, Dearnly, Dennerley and Dennerly. Early recordings of the surname from the Mottram in Longdendale church registers, Cheshire, include; John Dearnaley, who married Elizabeth Bayer, on March 13th 1768; on May 3rd 1772, Bettey Dearnaley married Joseph Hyde; James, son of Jno and Deborah Dearnaley was christened on December 14th 1783; and on November 24th 1784, Mary, daughter of Amas and Mary Dearnaley, was christened. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Deneley, who married Marie Redditch, which was dated December 22nd 1630, in the Mottram in Longdendale, Cheshire, during the reign of King Charles 1, known as "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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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