This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon locational origin, probably from a "lost village" one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348 also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The original place is believed to have been located in the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire area, and the name is composed of the initial element "Gaunt", the Middle English word for thin haggard or the Old French "gant", glove, with the Olde English "leah", a glade or clearing. Hearsye Gently married Susanna Skinner on November 2nd 1580 at Freiston, Lincolnshire, and Elizabeth, daughter of George and Elizabeth Gauntley, was christened on June 14th 1635 at Ordsell in Nottinghamshire. John Gauntley was christened on January 29th 1715, at East Markham, Nottinghamshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rawph Gauntley, who married Dorathie Wylde, which was dated July 10th 1586 at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, "Good Queen Bess", 1558-1603. 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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