Recorded as Chanley, Shandley, Shanley, Shanly, Shenley and no doubt other forms, this is an English surname. It is locational and originates from any or all of the three villages called Shenley in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, or possibly as a dialectal spelling of Shamley (Green), a village in Surrey. The name translation in both cases is obscure, the suffix ending of "ley" is a form of the pre 7th century Olde English word "leah" meaning literally an area of fenced ground, is most cases a farm. The prefix is probably the word "scenc" meaning a hollow or cup, and hence the farm in the hollow. Locational surnames were usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification after they left their original homestead to move somewhere else. Spelling over the centuries being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, often lead to the creation of "sounds like" spellings. Examples of recordings taken from surviving church registers of the city of London include Thomas Shenley who married Anne Lutman at St Katherine's by the Tower (of London) on September 3rd 1632, and Elisabeth Shanley who married John Harris at St James Clerkenwell on July 13th 1669.
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