Recorded in many spelling forms including Gatliff, Godliff, Gotliffe, and Gotecliffe, this is an English surname It is locational and originates from the village of Gatley in the county of Cheshire. In the medieval court rolls of the county the village appears as Gateclyve or Gaticlyve and it is from these early spellings that the current surname, in all its glory, has derived. It is often a mystery as to how these variants forms developed, but generally the explanation is that as fewer than five percent of the population could read or write before the 19th century, and local dialects were extremely pronounced, to the point of almost being separate languages, few people actually knew the correct spelling of their surname. The name translates as "the bank of the wild goats", from the pre 7th century Olde English and Norse-Viking words gat-clif. Examples of the name recordings include Charles Gatliff who married Jane Helsbie at Frodsham, Cheshire, on May 5th 1572, John Gotliffe who married Alice Wainwright at Hale Chapel, Childwall, on September 14th 1641, Johannes Getliffe of Melling by Maghull on February 28th 1676, whilst Thomas Gotliff was a witness at St Peters church, Liverpool on September 28th 1726. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Gytclyff. This was dated 1457, in the Friary Rolls of the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry V1, 1422 - 1461. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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