This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a place so called in Berkshire. Recorded as "Radelega" in the 1176 Pipe Rolls of Berkshire, and as "Radeley" in the 1242 Fine Court Rolls, the name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "reade", meaning "red" (with reference to the soil colour in the area), and "leah", a clearing in a wood; hence, "the red clearing". Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Philip de Radleg, who appeared in the 1260 Fine Court Rolls of Kent, and Warrin de Redleye, recorded in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Essex. Recordings from English Church Registers include: the marriage of John Radleye and Frisweed Hincke on April 28th 1567, at Hinton Waldrist, Berkshire, and the marriage of Agnes Radley and James Briera on November 27th 1563, in London. The family Coat of Arms is on a silver shield a red chevron engrailed between three snakes nowed proper their heads toward the sinister, the Crest being a phoenix in flames proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osbert de Radelega, which was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of Surrey", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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