Recorded as Hawksley, sometimes Hawkslee, Haxley, Hixley, Hoxley, and Hauxley, and according to the Inernational Genealogical Index, possibly associated with surnames such as Axley, Hocksley, Oxley, or Oaksley, this is an English surname. It is certainly locational, and according to the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley, from Horkesley, of which there are twin villages near Colchester in the county of Essex. However there are other places which have a claim including Hawkley, a village near Petersfield in the county of Hampshire, and Hauxley a village in Northumberland. All would seem to have the same meaning of Hawk's farm. This did not probably refer to wild birds of prey, because the countryside was awash with them, but to a person called Hawk or Hawkes, since these were popular early personal names in the Dark Ages upto the Norman Conquest of 1066. Locational surnames are "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homesteads to live somewhere else, and thereafter were identified by the name of their former village or sometimes or town or even country. Spelling being at best erratic, and local dialects very thick, often lead to the creation of "sounds like" spellings. Early recordings include Robert de Horkesle of Suffolk in the Hundred Rolls of landowners in 1273, and in the city of London four centuries later we have that of Hannah Hawksley, who was christened at St Sepulchre church, on March 18th 1667.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017