This ancient surname is of English locational origins. It derives from a hamlet within the parish of Giggleswick in the West Riding of Yorkshire, known as Paley Green, which in the 18th century consisted of just two farms. It is claimed that 'Paley' is a medieval form of the pre 8th century Danish-Viking personal name 'Pallig', and as such appeared in the 1101 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the time of King Henry 1st (1100 - 1130). This is probably correct as all early recordings of the surname are from Yorkshire.These include Robertus de Palay of Littondale, in the Parish of Arncliffe, in the 1379 Poll Tax Rolls, and John Paley of Melling, also Yorkshire, whose will was recorded at Chester in 1591. As the name moved away from its former homestead, the spellings became much more varied and include Palay, Paley, Payley, Palley, Pally, Paylie and probably Paily. Church recordings include examples such as Edward Palia, christened at St Mary at Hill, London, on August 23rd 1568, and Elizabeth Palley, who married Robert Helles at St James church, Clerkenwell, London, on September 12th 1612. An interesting recording in Barbados in the parish registers of 1679, is that of Adrian Paily, who held five acres of land, and had one servant. The distinctive coat of arms has the blazon of a gold field charged with three red lions rampant, overall a blue bend. The crest is a camels head in black. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Palay, which was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax Rolls for Giggleswick, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as 'Richard of Bordeaux', 1377 - 1399. 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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