This interesting surname of English origin is a locational name from Pixley in Herefordshire, deriving from the old English personal name "Peoht" plus "leah" meaning "wood or clearing". The placename is recorded as Picheslei in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as Pikesl in the Book of Fees of 1242. The surname dates back to the mid 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Thomas Pikesleye who was christened on June 9th 1590 at Alderham, Herefordshire, and Walter Pykesley was christened on April 1st 1593 also at Aldenham. Patience Pikesley married Edward Hatrell on October 28th 1648 at St. Alban's Abbey, Herefordshire. During the Middle Ages it was increasingly common for people to migrate from their birthplace to seek work further afield, as a result the custom developed that they would adopt that name as a means of identification. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo de Pikesle, which was dated 1242, Liber Feodorum, Hertfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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