Recorded in a number of spellings including Madeley, Medley, Medlay, Meadley and Midley, this is a surname of English origins. It has several possible originations. Firstly and most probably it is locational. As such it originates either from Medley, a place in Oxfordshire on the River Thames, or most likely from "Madeley", of which there are two villages in the counties of Shropshire and Staffordshire, or the almost similiar Madley in Gloucestershire. These are all named after the old personal name of the pre 7th century "Mada" meaning good, and "leah", a wood or clearing in a wood. It is also possible that for some nameholders the derivation could be from the old French word "medlee", meaning combat or conflict, but used in the personal sense as a nickname for an agressive person! This in time became a rare surname. Early examples of the recordings include: Thomas Medlay in the Post Mortem lists of the year 1419, whilst the rax records known as the "Feet of Fines" of Warwickshire mention Benedict Medley in 1496, Christopher Medelay was listed in the Coroners Rolls of Nottinghamshire in 1504, and Elizabeth Madeley, at Childs Ercoll, Shropshire, in 1588. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon atte Middele. This was dated 1273, in the historical record known as Kirby's Quest for the county of Somerset, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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