This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Pinley near Coventry in Warwickshire. The placename was recorded as "Pinneleya" in the Charter Rolls of the county of 1229, and as "Pinnelei" in 1326. The name is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pinn", peg, pin, with "leah", thin wood, copse, glade, "pinn" being used in the transferred sense of a narrow ridge, such as that near which Pinley still stands. The placename Pinner in Middlesex shares the same first element, and is also situated on a ridge.Locational surnames were acquired by the lord of the manor and local landowners, and especially be those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Recordings of the surname from this source from various Church Registers include: the marriage of Harry Penley and Jone Ynggell at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, on May 16th 1560; the christening of Christopher, son of Thomas and Ann Penley, at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London, on July 29th 1621; and the christening of Ann Pinley at St. Thomas', Dudley, Worcestershire, on September 10th 1654. An early Coat of Arms granted to a Penley family depicts a gold chief on a black shield, the Crest being a lion's head erased, red, ducally crowned gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edmonde Pynleye, which was dated June 20th 1542, marriage to Agnes Howghton, Solihull, Warwickshire, 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.
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