This interesting surname is a rare variant of Thornley or Thorley is in Durham and Lancashire, the latter being recorded as Thorenteleg in the 1202 Fine Court Rolls of Lancashire. Thorley situated in Herfordshire and the Isle of Wight, both recorded as Torlei in the Domesday Book of 1086. They all derive from the Old English pre 7th Century "thorn" meaning thorn bush and "leah a clearing, or an open place in a wood. The surname is first recorded in the mid 16th Century, (see below). Early recordings of the surname from the London church registers include; Thomas Thorneloe, who married Ann Earlam, on November 13th 1748, at St. Mary at Hill, London; on January 13th 1754, Thomas, son of Thomas and Ann Thorneloe, was christened at St. Andrew Hubbard with St. Mary at Hill; Lewis Thorneloe, was christened on April 23rd 1767, at St. Andrew, Holborn; and William Thorneloe married Hannah King, on November 20th 1824, at St. Olave, Southwark. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elina Thorneley, who married Henry Sagar, which was dated June 5th 1559, Whalley, Lancashire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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