Recorded as Lawley, Lawly, Lawlie and Lawlee, this is an English surname. It is locational from a place called Lawley in the county of Salop (Shropshire). The derivation is from the pre 7th Century personal name Lafa meaning a "survivor," plus "leah", a wood or paradoxically a clearing in a wood. The surname is found chiefly in the West Midlands. Locational surnames are "from" names. That is to say surnames given as easy identification to former villagers who for whatever reason moved somewhere else. Early examples of the surname recording include Jeannes Lawley who was christened at St. Andrew Hubbard in the city of London on July 26th 1560, whilst ibn Shropshire Mary Lawley married Howell Lewes on January 14th 1565, at Rudgely. Others include John, Lawly christened at St. Mary Aldermanbury, in the city of London on May 29th 1603, and Thomas, the son of Lance Lawlee christened on July 10th 1630 at St. Margaret's Westminster. Maria Lawley, a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Shenandoah" bound for New York on March 27th 1846. Possibly the first recording is that of Ellen Lawley. She married Robert Watts, on Jnne 7th 1545, at St Margaret's Westminster, during the reign of King Henry V111th, known to his friends but not his wives, as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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