This is an interesting and unusual name of early medieval English origin, which is a dialectal variant of a locational name from a place called Dinckley, near Blackburn, Lancashire. The placename was first recorded in the Assize Rolls of Lancashire in 1246, as "Dunkythele", and "Dinkedelay", and in the Pipe Rolls of 1257 as "Dinkedelagh", and was probably named with an Old British (pre Roman) name, for example the Welsh, "Dincoed", composed of elements meaning "fort", and "wood", with the addition of the Old English "leah", a clearing. Modern variations of the name are recorded as Dunkerly, Dunkley, Dunckley, Duncklee and Dunklee.This surname is now most common in Northampton. One Robert Dunkerley, "a husband-man" of Crompstall, is recorded in the Wills of Chester in 1588. Among the recordings in Lancashire are the marriage of John Dunkerley and Katheryn Leigh on May 29th 1609 at Manchester, and the christening of James, son of John Dunkerley, on March 30th 1634 at St. Mary's, Oldham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Dynkedlegh, which was dated 1332, in the Lay Subsidy, Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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