This interesting surname, with variant spellings Gully, Gullyes and Golley, originated as a nickname for a giant or large man from the medieval English "golias", giant, from the hebrew personal name "Golyat", Goliah, which occurs in the Bible as the name of the champion of the Philistines, who stood "six Cubits and a span", but was defeated in single combat by the shepherd boy David (Samuel Chpt 1. V17), who killed him with a stone from his sling. Thomas Gulias is recorded in the Close Rolls of Somerset in 1229 while one Hugh Golie was mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1206.Jordan Gulie was listed in the Assize Rolls of Somerset in 1225. On February 27th 1592 Ruherd Gulley married one Thomisin Holland at St. Lawrence Pountney, London while a Jane, daughter of Henry Guly was christened at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London on February 5th 1608. John Gully (1783 - 1863) was a prize-fighter and horse-racer who fought Henry Pearce "the Game Chicken" at Mailsham 1805 and was a leading boxer till 1808 and won the Derby and St. Leger in 1832, the Derby and Oaks in 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Gulias, which was dated 1202, in the "Assize Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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