This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places so called in England - at least fourteen of them - mainly in the southern and central counties. In the Domesday Book of 1086, these places are variously recorded as "Achelei", "Accleia", "Achelan" and "Acle", the derivation being from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ac", oak (tree) and "leah", here meaning "wood" or "forest". Locational names were usually given to the lord of the manor, to the local inhabitants, and especially to those who left their original home places and went to live or work in another town or village. One, Francis Oakley was an early settler in America, being listed as a resident of the Parish of St. Michael's in Barbados in 1678. An interesting namebearer was Octavius Oakley (1800 - 1867), a water-colour painter who exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1826 - 1860, and was a member of the Society of Painters in Water-colours, 1844. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hervey de Ocle, which was dated 1199, witness, in the "Assize Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard 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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