Recorded in various spellings including Temley, Tomley, Tomly, and even Tumley, this is a very interesting English surname. It is locational, and is believed to originate from the village of Thomley, near the town of Alton, in the county of Hampshire. The village is recorded as "Tumbeleia" in the famous Domesday Book of 1068, and it is possible that according to the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names, the surname does mean "The enclosure or farm of Thumb". The latter was used as an early baptismal name, or as a nickname for a small person. Equally it may mean have the transferred meaning of the "enclosure of the gnomes", at a time when witches and demons were imagined to be all around. Locational surnames being "from" names, were usually given to people after they left their original homes for whatever reason, to move somewhere else. Spelling being at best indifferent, and local dialects very thick, soon lead to the adoption of "sounds like" or variant spelling forms. The surname is rarely recorded in Hampshire at all, although Jane Tomley married Samuel Clifford at St Peters church, Portsea, on April 21st 1728. Earlier recordings from the city of London include Mary Tommerley, christened at St Olaves, Southwark, on November 20th 1641, and Randall Tomley, who married Mary Richards, at St Anns Soho, on June 6th 1715.
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