This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from any of the various places thus called, including Marley in Devonshire, Durham, Kent and the West Riding of Yorkshire, or Marley Farm in Brede (Sussex). The Yorkshire place, recorded as "Mardelai" in the Domesday Book of 1086, derives its first element from the Olde English pre 7th Century "mearth" meaning (pine) marten, plus "leah", a wood or clearing. This latter element is common to all the above mentioned places. Marley in Durham and Devonshire, recorded as "Merleia" and "Merlegh" in 1183 and 1242 respectively, share the same first element, i.e. the Olde English "(ge)maer", a boundary; hence "(ge)maer-leah". Marley in Kent, recorded as "Merille" in the 1242 Fine Court Rolls of that county, has as its first element the Olde English "myrig", pleasant. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname was first recorded in the mid 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Thomas de Mardele and John de Marley (Yorkshire 1208 and 1285 respectively). On April 26th 1573, Agnes Marley and John Pyppen were married at St. James' Clerkenwell, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts three silver dolphins naiant embowed on a black bend, all on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Merlai, which was dated circa 1145, in the "Book of Seals of Durham", during the reign of King Stephen, known as "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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