Fatharley, also recorded as Fetherly and Featherley, is of locational and Olde English pre 6th century origins. The "modern" surname is a compound which appears to be comprised of a prefix derived from the tribal name "Fearningas" but recorded as "Farth" in the 13th century, plus "leah" - enclosed lands. If this is so then the surname derives from the Villages now known as Farthingho and Farthingstone in Northamptonshire, or from some now "lost" medieval village of similar meaning. As there are some seven thousand lost sites in the British Isles, this latter situation is relatively common amongst locational surname holders. Indeed many present day surnames derive precisely from the fact that in the time of the Enclosure Acts in the 15th - 18th centuries, many villages were deliberately destroyed by the land owners, and the tenants disposed. These unfortunate people then took or were given as surnames, the name of their former village. What is certain is that around the beginning of the 17th century the name appears in London. These recordings include Rebecka Fatherley, who may well be the sister of Mary (below), who married Richard Elis at Harrow on August 27th 1629. The name is well recorded in Rotherhithe from August 19th 1807 when Thomas Fatherley was a witness at St Mary's Church in that town. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Fetherley which was dated October 28th 1624, when she married Richard Cock at Harrow, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1624. 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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