This is an English surname. Recorded in a number of forms including Fradley, Fradsley, Fradgley, Fraddley, Fridlay, and possibly Fridlowe, it originates from the village of Fradley in the county of Staffordshire. It is locational and locational surnames were usually given to people after they left their native homeland and moved elsewhere. It is not perhaps surprising that the first known church recordings occur in the diocese of Greater London, although from the early 18th century onwards, the surname being heavily recorded in Staffordshire itself. The place name and hence the surname, is believed to derive from the Old English pre 7th century word "fyrhp" meaning woodland, and "leah", a fenced enclosure within the woodland suitable for agriculture. Early examples of the surname recording include those of Clement Fradsley who married Ursula Martin at the church known as St Mary Somerset in the city of London on January 22nd 1631, whilst in the city of Stafford, Mary Fradley married Daniel Hill at St Mary's church, on September 15th 1714. The relative lateness of the Staffordshire recording may be because early registers have been lost, or it may simply be that the Enclosure Acts which took away the common grazing of cattle and drove many people from the land, were not enacted in Staffordshire until this time.
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