This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name, either from Swinley in the borough of Wigan, Lancashire, or from a locality west of Tewkesbury in Worcestershire, called Swinley (Green). Both placenames share the same meaning and derivation, that is, the Olde English pre 7th Century "swin", pig, wild boar, with "leah", a glade or clearing. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The first recorded namebearer (see below), owned property at Swinley. The surname, with variant spellings Swynley, Swyndley, Swindley, and Swinley, is well recorded in English Church Registers from the late 16th Century. On August 22nd 1570 William, son of Nycholas Swynley, was christened at Saint Margaret's, Westminster, London, and on May 13th 1677 Esther, daughter of Edward Swinley, was christened at St. James Paddington. The marriage of Ann Swinley to Richard Porter took place in Kirkham, Lancashire, on January 24th 1709. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Swyndeley, which was dated 1410, in the "Records of Liverpool", Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry 1V, known as "Henry of Bolingbroke", 1399 - 1413. 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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