Recorded as Moseley, Mosely, Mosley, Mousley and Mowsley, this is an ancient English surname. It is locational from any one of several places called Mosley, Moseley, or Mowsley, in the counties of Lancashire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Leicestershire. The place names are all found in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 commissioned by William the Conqueror, and the translation would seem to be either "Mul's island" from the Olde English pre 7th century personal name Mul, with -eg, meaning an island or possibly "Mus-leah" meaning "mouse wood". LOcational surnames were often given to either the local lord of the manor and his descendants or to former inhabitants who had left the village, and who took or were given as their surname the name of their former home. Early examples of the name recording include those of Ernold de Moseley, lord of the manor of Moseley in Lancashire, and given in the heraldic rolls as living in the time of King John (1199 -1216). A later descendant was Sir Nicholas Mosley, of Houghend, also in Lancashire, and the Lord Mayor of London in 1422. A later Sir Nicholas Mosley, but of the Derbyshire branch from Burneston Hall, was also Lord Mayor of London in 1599, during the last years of the reign of Elizabeth 1st. An interesting recording is that of Joseph Moseley, an early emigrant to America. He embarked from London on the ship Bonaventure, in January 1634, bound for Virginia colony. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Suen de Moseleia. This was dated 1195, in the Pipe Rolls of Worcestershire, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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