This is an interesting habitational name so called from the pre 7th Century 'edisc' an enclosed pasture and 'leah' wood or clearing this denoting a person who lived in such a place. It was the custom during the Middle Ages for people migrating from their villages of birth to adopt or be given their placenames for purposes of identification. Among the several villages of this name are included one in Chester and another in Shropshire. The alternative spelling appears as Edgeley. One Arthur Edgley married Elizabeth Hewit in St.Lukes, Chelsea in 1698. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Eggelye, which was dated 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. 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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