This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name from either of two sources. Firstly, the surname may derive from the Olde English pre 7th Century "lad", water-course, stream, with "leah", grove, clearing in a wood; hence "dweller at the stream in the grove". In some cases the first element of the name is from the Middle English "ladde", a servant or man of humble birth; hence "dweller at the servant's open place in the wood". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of William, son of Richard Ladley, on February 15th 1604 at St. Giles Cripplegate, London; the christening of Isable, daughter of William Ladley, on February 3rd 1619 at St. Olave's, York; the christening of Richard, son of Richard and Elizabeth Ladley, on October 28th 1627 at St. Botolph without Aldgate, London; and the marriage of Mabell Ladley and Edward Cooper on December 1st 1636 at St. Katherine by the Tower, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Isabell Ladlye, which was dated November 2nd 1548, marriage to William Hunter, at North Burton, York, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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