SDB Popularity Ranking: 1887

Last name: Dowley

SDB Popularity ranking: 1887

This ancient and unusual surname recorded in a wide range of spellings including D'Oyley, Doyley, Doley, Dolley, Dawley, Dowley, Duley, Duly, Dailey, Dailley, Dayley, Olley and Ollie, is of pre 9th century French origins. It is locational and originates from one of the five villages called Ouillys or those known as Ouilly-le-Bassett, Ouilly le Vicomte, Ouilly-la-Ribaude, and Ouilly-le-Tesson, in the department of Calvados, in Normandy. It is known that various soldiers from these villages came over to England with the invasions forces of William, The Conqueror in 1066. These people or at least the survivors, were rewarded for their successful efforts with large land grants mainly in the Oxford area, and possibly Yorkshire. Certainly the name appears in the Oxford county version of the famous 1086 Domesday book, which recorded all known landowners in England. Early examples of the surname development include Henri de Olli of Oxford in the year 1135, Henry de Oly, also of Oxford in 1212, during the reign of the infamous King John (1199-1216), and Reginald Duly of Yorkshire in 1297. Thomas Doylle is recorded in Sussex in 1327, whilst Robert Oylly, also recorded as Robert de Oylly, appears in the Oseney Rolls of Oxford in 1378. Later recordings taken from early surviving church registers include: Jone Dowley, who married Davy Valentyn at St Margarets church, Westminster, on October 24th 1540, whilst Joseph Dollley married Abigail Lucas at the church of St Katherines by the Tower (of London), on April 21st 1748. The first recorded spelling of the family name is belived to be that of Robert de Oilleio. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Oxfordshire and during the reign of King William 1st of England, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1086.

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