This interesting surname belongs to that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and mental and moral characteristics. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Old French "poli", agreeable, polite (literally "polished"), used to denote a courteous or amiable person. The surname, with variant spellings Poley, Polly, Pollie, Pollee and Poly(e) is well recorded in English Church Registers from the mid 16th Century; examples include: the christening of Symon Polley, an infant, at St.Botolph without Aldgate, London, on February 11th 1559, and the marriage of Robert Polley to Grace Goodaye in London, in 1574. Some bearers of the name may be of French Huguenot extraction, their ancestors having entered England as refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own country in the 16th and 17th Centuries. On August 13th 1671, Elisabeth, daughter of Jacob Pollee, was christened at the Threadneedle Street French Huguenot Church, London. The marriage of James Polley to Martha Shadwell Pertey took place at the British Embassy Chapel, Paris, Seine, France, on November 22nd 1845. A Coat of Arms granted to the Poley family is a gold shield with a black lion rampant, on the shoulder a silver martlet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James Polye, which was dated July 25th 1555, in the "Marriage Register of St. Andrew's", Enfield, London, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553 - 1558. 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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