This unusual and interesting name is of early Medieval English origin, and is a locational surname deriving from a place that has now disappeared from the maps, but is thought to have been situated in Worcestershire. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets in Great Britain are known to have been "lost" since the 12th Century, due in part to natural causes, such as the Black Death of 1348, But mainly through the enforced "clearing" of villages during the 14th Century to create sheep pastures. The name "Prowdley", means "Pruda's grove or glade from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name "Pruda", from "prud", proud, and "leah", a glade in a wood, or grove. The marriage of William Proudley and Bridgett Perkes was recorded at Old Swinford, Worcestershire on May 1st, 1623. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Dorithye Proudlye (christening), which was dated October 19th 1578, Martin Hussingtree, Worcestershire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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