This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Ketley near Wellington, in Shropshire. The placename is first recorded in the Shropshire Pipe Rolls of 1177 as "Cattelega", and in the Subsidy Rolls for 1327 as "Ketteleye". The name means "the wild cat wood", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "catta", cat, and "leah", wood, glade, clearing in a wood. Locational surnames were usually given to the lord of the manor, and to those former inhabitants of a place who left it to live or work in another area, and were most easily identified by the name of the place they had come from.The modern surname can be found as Ketley, Kettley, Keatley and Keitley. Emme Ketley was christened on April 20th 1623, at Alveley, Shropshire, and one Joyce Ketley was married to John Northwood on February 21st 1649, also at Alveley. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Humfrey Kettley, which was dated 13th July 1576, christened at Tipton, Staffordshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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