This is a locational name 'of Radley' from a place thus called in Berkshire and Devon. The name derives from the Olde English elements 'read' - red and 'leah' a wood or clearing and was originally given to those in residence in a wood with reddish-brown colour tree bark or leaves. Alternate spellings of the name included Radelee (1342), Raddeley (1471) and Radley (1671). The forms Redlee, Redleye, and Redlege are all recorded in the Hundred Rolls of 1273. In the modern idiom the name appears as Radley, Redley and Radleigh. 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, 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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