Recorded as Linley, Linly, Lindley, Lindly and the rare dialectal Lindsley, this is an English surname. It is locational and originates from either of the places called Lindley or Linley in the counties of Shropshire, Wiltshire and Yorkshire. The village in Shropshire is recorded as Linlee in the Pipe Rolls or charters of 1166 and the similar village in Wiltshire as Linleg in the Hundred Rolls of that county in 1225. In both cases the place name means "The clearing where flax was grown". The modern surname particularly as Lindley or Lindsley may originate from any one of two places in Yorkshire called Lindley. The first is near the small town of Otley, and the second a village near Huddersfield. Both are named from the Old English word "lind", meaning the lime tree, with "leah" as before. Early recordings of these place names also appear originally as Line and Linley, the "d" of the modern place name not being recorded before the 14th century. Robert de Linlye appears in the Hundred Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1273, and Arthur Lindleye of Yorkshire, in the register of students at Oxford University in 1594. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Linleia. This was dated 1204, in the Dorsetshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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