This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Kearsley in Lancashire, near Manchester; there is another place of the same name in Northumberland, but this is unlikely to be a significant source of the modern surname. Kearsley in Lancashire is recorded as "Cherselawe" in the Pipe Rolls of the county of 1187, and as "Kersleie" in the Cockersand Chartulary of circa 1220. The place is so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "caers, raes", watercress, with either "hlaw", hill, or "leah", wood, glade, clearing. Kearsley in Northumberland is recorded as "Kerneslawe" in the 1245 "Inquisitiones Post Mortem", and derives from the Olde English personal name "Cynehere" or "Cenhere", from "cyne", king, and "here", army, with "hlaw", hill. Locational surnames were acquired especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and who were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is first recorded in the early 13th Century, as below, and can also be found as Keasley and Kersley. The marriage of William Kearsley and Ales Bancks, was recorded in Wigan, Lancashire, on April 24th 1687. A Coat of Arms granted to Henry Kearsley in 1663 depicts, on a gold shield, two bars black between six lions' heads couped red, three, two, and one. The Crest is a demi eagle ermine, winged gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon de Caresle, which was dated 1206, in the "Curia Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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