This interesting name is of Medieval English origin and is a dialectal variant of the locational name Manley from a place so called in Cheshire. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'gemaene' meaning common, with 'leah', a wood, thus Common Wood. Manley is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Menlie' and in 1283 as 'Manlaye'. During the Middle Ages, it became increasingly common for people to migrate from their birth place to seek work elsewhere, and they would often adopt the placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. One William Menlove, the infant son of John and Sarah Menlove, was christened on January 14th 1688 at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James Manley, which was dated February 20th 1562, Frodsham, Cheshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 'Good Queen Bess', 1558-1603. 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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