The village of Gumley lies four miles north west of Market Harborough in Leicestershire, and is the "home" of this locational surname. The origin is Olde English pre 10th century, and the village name translates as the "leah" ( a fenced enclosure ) of "Guma." The latter is a term of endearment which literally means "man" and as such was probably used exactly in the same way as today. The usual personal descriptive surname is Gumm, Goom or Gomme, found widely in England, whilst the Gum(b)leys derive from former residence at the village. Locational surnames were usually as a result of the 15th century enclosure acts. These deprived the inhabitants of their traditional grazing rights, forcing them to leave the village to seek work in the nearest town. They took (or were given) as their surname, the name of their former village, but as few could spell this often lead to "sounds like" spellings, which were greatly affected by dialect. In this case we are able to trace a definitive spelling change. From circa 1570 the spelling was Guml(e)y, and on August 24th 1673 Isac Gumly, aged eight was so christened. On May 30th 1684, the same person married one Ann Dunister also at Nuneaton, However the spelling was recorded as Isaac Gumbley, which henceforth became a secondary spelling form. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Gumley, which was dated March 4th 1568, a witness at the christening of his daughter, Elizabeth at Hillmorton, Warwickshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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