Recorded in several spellings including Fawley, Fawly, Fowlie, Fowley and even Frawley, this is a medieval English surname. It is locational from various places called Fawley in the counties of Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Herefordshire and Berkshire. There are three possible meanings. The Fawley villages in Hampshire and Herefordshire derive from the old English pre 7th century world "filithe", meaning a hay field, with "leah", a clearing in a forest, whilst Fawley in Buckinghamshire has for its first element the word "fealg", meaning fallow land, although quite why a place should be (apparently) permanent fallow land is not logical.Fawley in Berkshire has the word "felam" as its prefix, which possibly denotes a forest frequented by fallow deer. There is no such place recorded as Frawley, and the records suggest that the intrusive "r" was probably added to Fawley in London area as an early aid to pronunciation. Examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Thomas Fowley, who married Jone Fletcher at St Margarets, Westminster, on May 27th 1543, William Fawley who was christened on May 29th 1692 at St. Brides Fleet Street, Andrew Frawley, the son of Andrew and Catherine Frawley, who was christened at Endell Street lying in hospital, on April 18th 1771, and George Fowlie, who was a christening witness to his daughter Frances, at St Vincent Scottish Church, Stepney, on June 28th 1795. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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