This interesting surname of English origin is a locational name from a place so called in Shropshire, deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name Lafa (from laf meaning "remnant" or "survivor") plus "leah" "wood" or "clearing". The surname is found chiefly in the West Midlands. Recordings of the name date back to the mid 16th Century, (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Lawlie, Lawly, Lewley, etc.. Jeannes Lawley was christened at St. Andrew, Hubbard with St.Mary at Hill, London on July 26th 1560. Mary Lawley married Howell Lewes on January 14th 1565, in Rughbury, Shropshire. One John, son of Anthony Lawly was christened at St. Mary the Virgin Aldermanbury, London on May 29th 1603, and Thomas son of Lancebt Lawlie was christened in July 1630 at St. Margaret, Westminster. One Maria Lawley, a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Shenandoah" bound for New York on March 27th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ellen Lawley, marriage to Robert Watts, which was dated 1545, Westminster, during the reign of King Henry V111, "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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