This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from any one of the places called 'Kingsley' in Cheshire, Hampshire and Staffordshire. The places in Cheshire and Staffordshire are recorded as 'Chingeslie' in the Domesday Book of 1086 and that in Hampshire as 'Kyngesly' in 1210. The placenames all share the same meaning and derivation, which is 'the glade, clearing, of the king', or 'chieftain', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century 'cyning', king, originally chieftain, tribal leader, with 'leah', thin wood, glade, clearing. Locational surnames were usually acquired by those former inhabitants of a place who moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), the English clergyman and author of 'Westward Hol', and 'The Water Babies' is probably the best known bearer of the name. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Kingesle (witness), which was dated 1246, The Lancashire Assize Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111, '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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