Recorded in the known spellings of Kindley and Kindly, this is an English surname. There are several plausible origins. The first is that it may derive from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'gecynd', which means natural or kind, and could have been a baptismal name of endearment during the period of history known as 'The Dark Ages'. To this name was added 'leah' meaning a farm, or at least an enclosed area of ground within a forest, suitable for agriculture, to give 'Kind's farm'. The second possibility is that the origin is medieval, a nickname for a 'kindly' person, or given the robust Chaucerian humour of the period, the complete reverse! Finally there is also a possibility that the name could be occupational, and derive from the Norse-Viking pre 9th century word 'kynda', to describe a provider of fires and torches.These were the only means of illuminating the dark streets, and had to be replaced continually though the night. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from early surviving church registers of Greater London include: Margery Kindley, who married Edward Thompson at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on November 30th 1590, and Maria, the daughter of William and Margaret Kindly, who was christened at the church of St Sepulchre in the city of London on March 25th 1770. Interestingly, and a good example of how surname spellings can 'float', one year later on May 19th 1771, a son William was also christened at the same church, when the family surname spelling was given as Kindley.
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