This surname, with variant spelling Foxlee, is of English locational origin from any of the various places named with the Old English pre 7th Century "fox", fox, plus "leah", a wood or clearing. These places include Foxley in Norfolk, recorded as Foxle in the Domesday Book of 1086; Foxley in Wiltshire, appearing as Foxelege in the Domesday Book; Foxley in Northamptonshire, spelt "Uoxle" in the Geld Roll, dated 1066, and Foxley, a hamlet north west of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. The surname was first recorded in the early part of the 14th Century, (see below).One John de Foxle, witness was noted in the 1392 "Fine court Rolls of Norfolk", and a Thomas de Foxley, Co. Norfolk, in the Pipe Rolls of 1386. A coat of arms granted to the Foxley family of Northamptonshire depicts an engrailed fesse between three black cinquefoils (five-petalled flowers) on a silver shield and one, John Foxley of Shaftesbury, Dorset, was granted a coat of arms in 1609, depicting a gold and black saltine between four black trefoils on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Foxele, vicar of Horning, which was dated 1334, The Norfolk County Records, during the reign of King Edward 111, "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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