Recorded in several forms including Fishlee, Fishleigh, Fishly, Fishley, Feassley, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is locational and would seem to originate either from Fishley, a hamlet south of Norwich in Norfolk, or from Fishleigh, now Fishleigh House, a 'lost' medieval village near Hatherleigh in the county of Devonshire. It is understood that the Devonshire village was 'cleared' to allow for the building of Fishleigh House in the 18th century. This was quite a normal activity for landowners at that time. If a village obscured a view from the main house or in someway interferred with the landowners privacy, then it was simply 'removed'. This was not always a bad thing, because in return any new houses that were built were often of a good standard. Many remain to this day, and are much sought after. The place name and hence the surname has meaning of 'Fish farm' from the pre 7th century 'fisc-leah', and may have denoted an intensive fish farm, perhaps one attached to a monastery. Fish farming was a popular industry, and most if not all monasteries, had such a facility. Perhaps the earliest recording of the surname is that of Nicholas Fishlee at the church of St Katherines by the Tower (of London), on September 3rd 1587.
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