Recorded as Eardley and Erdley, this interesting and unusual name is English. It is of locational origin and probably from the village of Eardley End. Here the place name translates as "The dwelling in a clearing at the end of a wood!" In some cases it is also possible that some nameholders may originate from the two villages called Ardley in the counties of Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire. Here the meaning is Eardwulf's farm. Another possibility is Ardleigh village in the county of Essex. This translates as the ploughed land in a clearing. The surname first appears in the latter part of the 13th Century, (see below), whilst on May 26th 1560, Ellin Eardley and James Brodhurst were married at Standon, Staffordshire. An interesting namebearer was Sir Culling Eardley (1805-1863). He was educated at Eton and Oriel College, Oxford, and founded the Evangelical Alliance in 1846 which for a number of years was a successful organisation. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Erdeleye. This was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st known as "The Hammer of The Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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