This interesting old name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname from one of the places called "Gateley" in Norfolk, or "Gatley" in Cheshire and Herefordshire. "Gateley" in Norfolk is recorded as "Gatelea" in the Domesday Book of 1086 and means "the clearing where goats were kept", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "gat", goat and "leah", clearing in a wood. "Gatley" in Cheshire was "Gatsclyve" in 1290, from "gat" and "clif", cliff, the goat's cliff, while "Gatley" in Herefordshire was "Gatesleg" in 1230 and means "the clearing by the pass", from the Old English "geat", a gate or pass, with "leah" as above. The surname development includes Simon de Gatle (1203, Kent) and Henry Gateleye (1327, Worcestershire). The marriage of Christopher Gately and Hanah Tull was recorded at St. Anne's, Soho, London, on April 20th 1699. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Gateleia, which was dated 1086, The Domesday Book (Norfolk), during the reign of King William 1, "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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