This famous and noble surname is of pre 8th century Anglo-Saxon origins, and whilst generally considered locational from one of the English villages called Langley or Longley, may also be Norse-Viking. In the latter case the derivation is from an early Norwegian female baptismal name 'Langlif' which curiously does mean what it sounds 'Long life'. The village names are found in the 1086 Domesday Book as 'Langelei, Langeleie, and Longelei' and all have the same meaning of 'the long glade'. This probably referred to an area of ground cut from the forest, and cultivated. Be this as it may, the fact is that all the early records refer to landowners such as Thomas de Langeleye of Oxford in 1273, and Simon de Longeley of Yorkshire in 1297. A Geoffrey Langley appears in the London Rolls of 1281, whilst the the fifth son of King Edward 111 (1312-1377) was Edmund de Langley (1341 - 1402), and on this gentleman was conferred the title of 1st Duke of York in 1385. Another famous name holder in the same period was Thomas Langley, who was appointed Chancellor to King Henry 1V in 1405, and bishop of Durham in 1406. His rapid promotion continued with him being elected cardinal of England in 1411. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Richard de Langelega, which was dated 1191, The Shropshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as 'The Lionheart', 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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