This is an ancient English surname. It is locational from a village called Methley near Leeds in West Yorkshire, and situated between that city and town of Pontefract. Locational surnames were usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their former homesteads to move somewhere else. The exception to this rule was when the surname was the name of the lord of the manor and his descendants, and as Methley is a well recorded surname in Yorkshire itself, this may have been the case here. Certainly the first recording that we have is that of Ricardus de Methelay in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379 in the reign of King Richard 11nd (1377 - 1399), and he ay have been lord of the manor of Methley. The poll tax rolls only included people of stature, those capable of paying some tax, and this record also included Emma de Methlay belived to have been a land owner in her own right, and Johannes de Methlay given as being a 'tayllour' and possibly a freeman of the city of York. The place name was originally of Scandanavian and Viking pre 7th century origins, and means 'the middle place', possibly a reference to a farm between two others, although this is not certain.
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