This name is of English locational origin from a place in Staffordshire thus called. Recorded as Dedeslega in the 1167 Pipe Rolls of that county and as Daddesleye in the 1272 Assize Court Rolls, the first element is the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name Daeddi, plus 'leah', a clearing or open place in a wood. On September 6th 1629 Richard Dodsley, an infant, was christened in St. Mary's, Staffordshire. Earlier recordings of the surname occur in London Church Register, (see below). On March 11th 1604 Nathaneel Dodsley was christened in Harrow on the Hill, London. An interesting namebearer was Robert Dodsley (1703 - 1764), poet, dramatist and bookseller who published for Pope, Young and Johnson. His best known work is a 'Select Collection of Old Plays' which appeared in 1744. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Dodsley married Thomas Windall, which was dated August 5th 1571 in St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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