This is an Olde English locational name from the hamlet of Howley near Bradford in Yorkshire, or from residence by an enclosure (leah) on a hill (Hugl). The origin is Olde English pre 7th Century and the appearance of the surname in many parts of the country suggests that at some point in time probably around 1400, there was a wholesale emigration from the village. Either way the origin does not appear to have been a bar to success, William Howley (1766 - 1848) being Archbishop of Canterbury and Henry Howley was an Irish Patriot, executed after the 1798, Rising. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes de Houlay. which was dated 1379, in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Roll. during the reign of King Richard 11, known as Richard of Bordeaux, 1378 - 1400. 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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