Recorded as Routley,Routly, and the more popular Rutley, this is an English surname. It is locational, and apparently originates from some now "lost" medieval village. The spelling of the surname indicates that the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century elements "ruh" meaning rough or uncultivated, and "leah" meaning a clearing in a wood. As to where this place was is very uncertain. It is estimated that at least three thousand British Isles surnames originate from places which have totally disappaered from all maps. The only surviving mempory being the surname itself, often as with this one, in several spellings. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include Elizabeth Rutley, christened at St Johns church, Hackney, on August 13th 1559, Susan Routley, who was married to Richard Hoggins at St Anns church, Soho, on December 20th 1824, and finally William Henry Routly and his wife Fanny, who were witnesses at Percy Road Chapel, Hendon, Middlesex, on November 26th 1893. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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