This interesting and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from a now 'lost' place thought to have been situated in Norfolk or Suffolk. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared since the 12th Century in Britain, due to natural disasters such as the Black Death of 1348, in which one-eighth of the population perished, and also to the large-scale 'clearing' of rural communities to make sheep pastures during the boom in the wool trade of the 14th and 15th Centuries. The placename 'Tockley' means 'Tocca's glade', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name 'Tocca', an adoption of the Old Norse 'Toki', a short form of 'Thirkill', Thor-cauldron, with 'leah', clearing, glade in a wood. The surname development in Suffolk includes Tokly (1567), Tokely (1576), Tookley (1589), Tockeley (1599) and Toclye (1602). James Tokley was christened at St. James's, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, on September 18th 1564. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomasyn Tockley (christening), which was dated August 18th 1559, Burgh, Suffolk, 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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