This interesting and unusual surname is a dialectal variant of "Eastleigh", a name given to a place in Devon, near Westleigh and in Hampshire five and a half miles north east of Southampton, the latter place recorded "Estleie" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and "Estleg" in the Fees Records of 1242. The place name itself is composed of the Old English pre seventh Century words "East", meaning East (common in English place name as the first element) plus the second element "leah", meaning wood or open place in a wood.Hence "a wood to the east of a settlement". The London Church Records record the following entries: Elias Easley married Rose Hill on September 30th 1599, at St. Nicholas, Coleman Street, London and had a daughter Susan, christened there on December 23rd 1599, and had twins Richard and John christened at St. Nicholas on October 17th 1600. At Spreyton in Devon, Robert Steeve married Margery Easeleigh in 1605, while Joan Easley married Robert Bromfield at Boldre by Lymington, Hampshire on November 17th 1791. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Estligh, which was dated October 22nd 1592, Christening witness at Madron, Cornwall, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "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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