Recorded in a number of spellings including Mellody, Mellodey, Melody and Melledy, this is an English surname of medieval origins. According to the famous Victorian etymologist the late Charles Bardsley, the surname has two possible sources, both nicknames. Firstly is that it may be a metonymic for a professional singer or travelling minstrel, people who were much sought after in those times of long winter darkness and relatively little entertainment, or secondly it may be a female form of the personal name 'Meredith', a name of pre 7th century Olde Welsh (English) origins which is known to have transposed into such forms as Mallalieu, Merridew, and Merriday. 'Nicknames' form a large section of the English names list, in fact some researchers claim all surnames are to a large extent nicknames. Whether that is so or not, some are certainly more difficult to research accurately than others. This is quite a rare name but has been recorded from the very begining of surnames in the 13th century. One of these recordings is that of Richard Melodie, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Oxfordshire in the year 1273. This was in the first year of the reign of the famous 'war king', Edward 1st of England, 1273 - 1307. He fought everybody in sight, and to do so had to get his people to pay extra tax. This Hundred Roll recording is relative to a 'war tax'. Other recordings include: Margaret Melledy at St Peters church, Cornhill, in the city of London, in 1550, and another Margaret, but this time Mellodey, at Manchester, on June 7th 1886.
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