This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a hamlet called "Eakley Lanes" in Buckinghamshire, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Ecca", from "ecg", edge, point of a weapon, plus leah, wood, clearing. During the Middle Ages, when it was increasingly common for people to migrate from their birthplace to seek work further afield, the custom developed that they would adopt the placename as a means of identification. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Eakley, Eakly, Ecklee, Eckeley and Eckly. London Church Records list the christening of William, son of Lawrence and Anne Eckley, on February 10th 1694, and of their son Edward, on November 7th 1698, both at St. Olave's, Southwark. Lawrence Eckley married Alice Stephens on August 6th 1699, at St. Dunstans, Stepney. A Coat of Arms granted to an Eckley family is gold, on a red saltire a leopard's face transfixed with two swords saltireways of the field. The Crest is a red leopard's head erased. The Motto "Gestal verbis praeveniunt" translates as "Their deeds go before their words". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomam Eccley, which was dated 23rd November, 1585, marriage to Eleonoram Conynge, at Bromyard, Herefordshire. during the reign of Elizabeth 1, known as "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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