Recorded in a number of spellings including Lefly, Leftly. Leftley, Liflie and Liftley, this is a surname which is probably English in origin. It is widely recorded in Greater London from the mid 17th century, and whilst it is possible that it is variant of the Irish surname Liffey, we have no supporting evidence to confirm either way. Evidence gathered over many years would suggest thats its appearance in London registers is rather too early for an Irish surname, although this cannot be entirely ruled out, almost anything being possible with the development of a surname. Assuming though from the evidence that it is English, the translation is probably "Leotates leah", meaning the farm of Leotate. The latter was an Olde English female personal name from the 7th century a.d. This suggests that the name is one of the five thousand or so post medieval surnames which originate from a now "lost" village or hamlet, in the British Isles. The early examples of the surname recording taken from the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London and showing the surname development include: John Lefly, the son of Bartholomew Lefly, who was christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on September 16th 1655, during the "reign" of Oliver Cromwell, whiolst William Lifley married Mary Stuther at St James, Dukes Place, Westminster, on August 1st 1688. Almost a century later the spelling seems to have transposed to Leftley, with Charles Leftley being a witness at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on October 19th 1765.
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