Recorded as Pratley, Prattley, Pratly, and Pretley, this is an English locational surname. it apparently originates from a now "lost" medieval village believed to have been in the south east of England. It is in this region where the name is most recorded, and also the area with the only two places which seem to be in anyway associated. These are Pratling Street and Pratts Bottom, both in the county of Kent. It is estimated that some five thousand surnames of the British Isles originate from "lost" village names, and this represents about 5% of the national surnames listing. As to the meaning of the place name, it is probably Pratts farm, from the pre 7th century personal name "Prat" of which the meaning is believed to be astute or cunning, and "leah," a fenced area suitable for agriculture - a farm. It is uncertain when the surname was first recorded, but the surviving church registers of the city of London include Annis Pratley who was christened at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, on September 6th 1607, and Rebecca Pretley, in the only known recording in this spelling, at St Dunstans Stepney, on February 2nd 1697.
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