This interesting name derives from the medieval female personal name Cecilia, from the Latin 'caecus' meaning 'blind'. The name was borne by a second century Roman virgin and martyr, popularly regarded as the patroness of music. Her name introduced into Britian by the Normans is first recorded in Leicestershire c.1200. One Henricus filius (son of) Cecilie appears in 'The Pipe Rolls of Derbyshire' (1210). The surname from this source is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th century. Alternate spellings of the name have included Cecely (1296) and Cysely (1332) - The Subsidy Rolls of Sussex and of Warwickshire respectively. In the modern idiom the name is spelt Sisley and Sicley. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Cecili which was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire during the reign of King Edward 1, known as the Hammer of the Scots 1272-1307 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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