This interesting and unusual surname, of Norman origin, with variant spellings Parsly, Parcely, Parsloe, Parslow, Paslow, Pashley, etc., derives from the Olde French phrase "passelewe", a compound of the elements "passe(r)", to pass or cross, (Latin "passare"), plus "l'ewe", the water, (Latin "aqua"), and was originally given as a nickname to a merchant who was in the habit of travelling overseas, or else someone who had been on a pilgrimage or crusade. The surname was first recorded in its Latinized form in the latter part of the 11th Century, (see below). The manor of the village of Drayton Parslow in Buckinghamshire is recorded in the Domesday Book as being held by the said Radulfus Passaqua. One Ralph Passelewa was noted in Records of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, dated 1104. The forms Parsley, Parcely, etc., containing an intrusive "r", first emerge in the early 16th Century. Osbert Parsley, (1511 - 1585), musical composer, was for fifty years Singing-Master at Norwich Cathedral. On September 6th 1555, Edward, son of John Parcely, was christened in Wilne, Derbyshire, and on May 22nd 1579, George Parsley, an infant, was christened at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Radulfus Passaqua, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Buckinghamshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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