Recorded in several spelling forms including Solly, Sowley, Sooly, Sooley, Sudeley and Sully, this is an English locational surname. Generally recorded in the spelling of Sully, it is an excellent example of how a local dialect completely changed the spelling of a name. The derivation is from the village of Sudeley in the county of Gloucester, first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 in the spelling of 'Sudlege'. This translates as 'the leah meaning a farm or enclosure to the south, the inference being that this was a small farm or settlement to the south of the main village. Local dialects being in medieval times almost individual languages, the development of slang spellings such as Brummiger for Birmingham or Suthell for Southwell, proceeded at a merry pace, as they have with this name. Even the very first known recording, that of Bartholmew de Sulley in the Hundred Rolls of Gloucester for 1272, is also quantified as Bartholew de Sudeley. The surname was also well recorded in medieval Devonshire, showing how even in those times people travelled widely in search of better prospects. These early recordings include Walter de Sully and Reymond de Suley, in 1293, whilst Adam de Sullegh is recorded in Somerset in the year 1328. Later examples are those of Anthony Sowley at St Margarets church, Westminster, on April 4th 1684, and Samuell Sooly at St Botolphs without Aldgate, in the city of London, on June 18th 1686.
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