This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Mawdesley near Chorley in Lancashire. The placename is recorded as "Madesle" in 1219, and as "Moudesley" in 1269, in the Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire; the name means "Maud's glade", derived from the early medieval female given name Mau(l)d, a variant of the originally Germanic "Mathilde", composed of the elements "maht", might, strength, with "hild", battle, and the Olde English "leah", thin wood, glade, clearing in a wood. Locational surnames were acquired by the lord of the manor and local landowners, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who moved to another area, usually in search of work, and thereafter took the name of their birthplace as the easiest means of identification. The surname development includes the following examples: William de Maudesley (1401, Lancashire), and Robert Mawdesley (1476, Yorkshire). One Thomas Mawdisley was listed in the Register of the University of Oxford in 1605, and Henry Maudsley, at the age of 24 yrs., was an early emigrant to the American colonies, embarking on the "Hopewell" of London in August 1635 for New England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Moudesley, which was dated 1257, in documents contained in "Baine's History of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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