This interesting name is of medieval Northern English origin and is a topographical surname for someone who lived in a wood or a clearing with a rough hut or shed in it. The derivation is from the Old Norse "Skali", meaning a hut, or a temporary dwelling, and "leah", a wood or a clearing in a wood. Amongst the sample recordings of the name and its variants in Yorkshire are, Robert Scholey, who married Margaret Schillito on March 3rd 1550 at Hemsworth near Wakefield, Martyn Scoley, (1563, Royston), Thomas Scholaye (1580, St.Peter's, Leeds), William Scholey who married Elizabeth Steele on March 3rd 1590 in Leeds and William Scholaie (1593, St. Peter's Leeds). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Scolay, which was dated 1379, "The Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns", during the reign of King Richard 11 of Bordeaux, 1377 - 1399. 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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