This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon or Old Norse origin, and is locational from an ecclesiastical district and village in Staffordshire. The first element of the placename is either derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Mocca", of uncertain etymology, or the Old Norse personal name "Motholfr", similar to "Hrolfr", which is itself derived from "Hroth-wulfr", meaning "renown-wolf". The second element is derived from the Olde English "leah", wood, clearing; hence "Mocca's wood" or "Motholfr's wood".Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is also found recorded in Ireland, particularly in West Cork, the earliest recording being of one Margaret Moxley, who was born on November 10th 1736 at Bandon, Co. Cork. Recordings from Church Registers include the christenings of William Moxley on August 26th 1722, at Old Swinford, Worcestershire, and of Richard Moxley on July 14th 1865, at Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ireland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Moxley, which was dated October 10th 1574, christened at Tipton, Staffordshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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