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 names beginning with "heard", hardy, brave, strong, with "leah", as before. The surname was first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Warin de Hadlai (1212, Yorkshire); Richard de Hadlege (1311, Cambridgeshire); and John Hadley (1390, Essex). The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a red shield with two chevronels between three silver falcons beaked, legged, and belled gold, the Crest being a silver falcon beaked, legged and belled gold, holding in the mouth a gold buckle. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Matilda de Hadlegha, which was dated 1194, in the "Pipe Rolls of Suffolk", 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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