This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from any of the various places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "heg", hay, and "leah", wood, clearing; hence, "hay clearing". These places include: Hailey in Oxfordshire, recorded as "Hayle, Hyle" in the 1279 Hundred Rolls, and as "Haylle" in the Feudal Aids Rolls of 1316; and Hayley, a minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place believed to have been in Yorkshire. Locational surnames were usually acquired by a local andowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. However, the surname could also be topographical, and descriptive of "a dweller at the hay clearing". from the same elements as before. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname was first recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below), and one Thomas Haley was recorded in the "Inquisitiones post mortem", for Northumberland, dated 1420 - 1421. Today the surname is chiefly found in West Yorkshire; the marriage was recorded there of Thomas Haley and Marie Threapland on February 14th 1638, at Bingley. One of the early settlers to the New American Colonies was Dennis Haley, recorded in Barbados in May 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Hayleg', which was dated 1251 - 1252, in the "Feet of Fines of Warwickshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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