This uncommon surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Putley, a parish and village of Ledbury in Herefordshire, containing the ancient country manor of Putley Court. Recorded as "Poteslege" in the Domesday Book of 1086; as "Putelega" in Charters of Hereford Cathedral, circa 1180, and as "Puteleg" in the 1206 Curia Regis Rolls, the place was so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century male given name "Putta" from "putta", kite, with "leah", (dative "lea, leage, lieg"), a glade, open place in a wood; hence, "Putta's glade".Alternatively, the first element may translate as "kite", hence "kite glade". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently gave rise to variations on the original spelling of the name which, in the modern idiom, is found as Put(t)ley, Potley and Pudley. On October 13th 1569, Elzabethe Putley and William Tillie were married at North Nibley, Gloucestershire, and on January 17th 1572, Elizabeth Putley married Gabriell Ward at Cromhall, Gloucestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hellen Putley, (marriage to John Johnson), which was dated May 4th 1561, St. Mary Magdalene, Milk Street, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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