This surname is of medieval northern English locational origin. It is one of the several spellings of the ancient town of Keighley in the former West Riding of Yorkshire. Recorded as 'Chichelai' in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 commissioned by William, the Conqueror, and as 'Kikeleia' in the Yorkshire Charter dated 1170, the meaning is uncertain. The first element may be either the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name 'Vicca', a derivative of 'cicen', a term of endearment which means chicken, or from the Norse-Viking 'kika' describing a bend or a creek. To this has been added the second element of 'leah', the modern surname Lea, Lee or Leigh, itself corresponding to the Norse 'lo' meaning a low lying meadow. This gives the possible meanings of 'Ciccca's meadow' or, 'the meadow by a creek'. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, see below, and early examples of the surname recording include Johannes de Kyghely of York in 1379, Willaim de Kigheley of Preston in Lancashire, in 1397, Philip Kyghley of Worcester in 1597, Elizabeth Keetley of Canterbury in 1676, John Kettley a witness at St. Katherines by the Tower, (of London), in 1690 and William Keatley at St Georges chapel, Mayfair, London, in 1752. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Kythelay, which was dated 1272, in the register known as the 'Hundred Rolls of Lancashire', during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The Father of the Navy', 1327 - 1377. 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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