This interesting and uncommon name has two possible sources, each with its own distinct history and derivation. Firstly, it may be of Anglo-Scandinavian origin, representing a rare survival of the personal name or byname found in Olde English as "Mul(a)", and in Old Norse as "Muli"; the Olde English form may be from either the native term "mul", mule, halfbreed (the name of a brother of Ceadwalla, King of Wessex in the mid 7th Century), or from the Old Norse "muli", muzzle, snout. These names are found as the first element in a number of placenames, such as Mulwith in West Yorkshire, "Muli's ford", and Moulten in Norfolk and in Suffolk, "Muli's or Mul's settlement". The surname Mull(e)y is found chiefly in the eastern counties of England, Essex, Kent and Suffolk, where there was considerable Scandinavian influence. The second possible origin of the name is from an Anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic "O'Maol Aoidh", descendant of the devotee of St. Aodh, the personal name "Aodh" meaning "fire", and originally the name of a pagan god. The Anglicized forms of this Gaelic name include Millea, Mulloy, Mullee and Mull(e)y. Examples of the surname from Church Registers include: the marriage of Robert Mully and Alice Strawe at Glemsford, Suffolk, on February 4th 1559, and the christening of Betty, daughter of Richard Mull(e)y, on February 27th 1808, in Borris, County Carlow, Ireland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Mully, which was dated August 10th 1540, witness at the christening of his daughter, Enfreyth, at St. George the Martyr, Canterbury, Kent, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017