This interesting and unusual surname recorded as Otley, Utley, Uttley, Huttley and Hutley, is of northern English locational origin. It is probably from Utley, a village near the town of Keighley in Yorkshire, but may be from Otlaey as shown below. The component elements of the name are the Olde English pre 7th century personal name Utta or Otta, both meaning riches, plus the word leah, which today is usually found as the suffix ley. This means literally a clearing in a wood, but has the more probable meaning of a farm, and hence Utta's farm. Because of the phonetic similarity, Otley, the small town near the city of Bradford in the West Riding of Yorkshire, is also a source of the surname. Otley is recorded as Ottanlege in the early Yorkshire charters list dated 1030 a.d., and as Othelai in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. The place name again translates as Otta's farm. Early examples of recordings taken from Yorkshire church registers include that on August 15th 1548, of Roger Ottlay and Margaret Nodder who were married at Rotherham, Ann Utley, who was christened at Heptonstall on June 11th 1556, and Mary Huttley, who was christened at St Giles Cripplegate, city of London, on April 26th 1698. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Hotlay. This was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11nd, known as Richard of Bordeaux, 1377 - 1399.
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