This interesting surname with variant spellings Morrilly, Morley, Moreley, Morrilie, Morrallay, etc., is of English locational origin from any of the various places called Morley in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Durham, Norfolk, and West Yorkshire, or from Moreleigh in Devonshire, all of which are so called from the Old English pre 7th Century "mor" meaning "marsh or fen" plus "leah" "wood or clearing", hence "leah by the fen or marsh". The surname dates back to the late 12th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Ralph de Morley (1230) "The Pipe Rolls of Derbyshire", and Thomas Morleigh (1377) "Calendar of Inquisitones Post Mortem, Wiltshire". Church recordings include one Ann Moreley who married William Pearce on April 21st 1700 at St. Mary le Bone, London, Jane, daughter of Jane Moreley, was christened on December 12th 1750 at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, and Elizabeth Mary Morrallay was christened on August 11th 1797 at St. Saviour, Southwark, London. One Charles, son of Charles and Elizabeth Morrilie, was christened at St. Pauls Deptford, London, on July 27th 1806. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Milo de Morleia, which was dated 1196, the Pipe Rolls of Buckinghamshire, during the reign of King Richard 1, "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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