This is an English locational surname of Anglo-Saxon origin, deriving from one of the places called 'Hadley' in Hertfordshire, Shropshire, and Worcestershire, or from any of the places called 'Hadleigh' in Suffolk, Essex and elsewhere. The early recordings of the placename, in the Domesday Book of 1086, for instance, are as 'Haethlege', 'Hatlege' and 'Hadlega', showing the derivation from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'haeth', heathland, heather, and 'leah', wood, clearing. 'Hadley' in Worcestershire, however, is recorded as 'Haddeleye' in 1327, and derives from the Olde English personal name 'Hadda', a short form of the personal name 'hadda', a short form of the personal names beginning with 'heard', hardy, brave, strong, with 'leah', as before. The development of the surname includes Warin de Hadlai (1212, Yorkshire), Richard de Hadlege (1311, Cambridgeshire) and John Hadley (1390, Essex). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Matilda de Hadlegha, which was dated 1194, in the Suffolk Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as the Lionheart, 1189 - 1199. 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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