This famous surname is most closely associated with the village of the same name in Yorkshire, although the villages in Derbyshire, Lancashire, nd Westmorland, have provided nameholders. The origins are Olde English and derive from the pre 7th century 'staf-leah' which translates literally as 'the wooded area from which staves were cut'. As almost all utensils for carrying and storing were barrels, 'staves' were an important 'crop' in medieval times. The villages are first recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as 'Stavelia or Stavelie' which is a reflection of Norman French spelling, as used by the clerics and scribes. The surname is first recorded in the 1273 rolls (see below), from a nationwide listing of landowners in the first year of the reign of King Edward 1st. Examples of early recordings include Adam de Stavelia of Cumberland in 1273, and Thomas de Stavell of Nottingham. Thomas Staveley (1624 - 1684) was a barrister and author, whose works found favour in the Cromwellian period. The Yorkshire nameholders based at Sleningford Old Hall, Ripon, had several high ranking officers amongst their number including General Myles Staveley who died in 1722. To him was granted the Coat of Arms which has the blazon of - per pale embattled, red and silver, on a chevron engrailed between three mascules, two bucks heads, all counterchanged. A later Staveley who also excelled in battle was (General) William Staveley (1784 - 1854), who at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 was given the signal honour of communicating with Field Marshal Blucher, commanding the German forces in support of the Duke of Wellington. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Stavely, which was dated 1273, the Kings Rolls of the County of Yorkshire, 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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