Recorded in a number of spellings including Dolley, Dolly, Duley, Duly, Olley and Ollie, this is an English surname but of genuine French origins. Introduced by followers of William, The Conqueror, after the battle of Hastings in 1066, it is locational and perhaps correctly should be spelt d'Ovilly or similar, as it originates from any of the five villages called Ovillys, Ovilly Le Basset or Ovilly Le Vicomte in Normandy. The later surname development in England from the early medieval period includes: Robert Oilgi in the Domesday Book of 1086, Henri de Olli of Oxford in 1135, Henry de Oly also of Oxford in 1212, Reginald Duly of Yorkshire in 1267, and Robert de Doley of Oxford in 1279. Amongst the many recordings in the diocese of Greater London is the marriage of Robert D'Oyly and Mary Langley on June 2nd 1745 at St. Paul's church, Covent Garden, Westminster. Probably the most famous nameholder was Richard D'Oyly Carte (1844 - 1901), the English impresario noted for his productions of the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Oilleio. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Oxford, during the reign of King William 1st of England, 1066 - 1086. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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