This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a place in Cheshire called Huxley, recorded variably as "Huxeleg" (1260), "Huxley" (1271), and "Huxelegh" (1385), the name is believed to derive from the genitive case of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal nickname "Hucc" (from "hux", a taunt or insult), plus "-leah", a wood or clearing. Locational surnames were usually acquired by a local landowner, 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. The surname from this source is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below). One Thomas de Huxeley appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire, dated 1332, and a William Huxley is recorded in the 1530 Fine Court Rolls of Essex. A famous namebearer was Thomas Henry Huxley (1825 - 1895), a contemporary of Darwin who studied at Charing Cross Hospital, and became assistant surgeon on H.M.S. "Rattlesnake" 1846 - 1850. He published several scientific papers on fossil forms, vertebrated animals, natural history, and many other subjects. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de (of) Huxeleg, which was dated 1260, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Cheshire", 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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