This name is of English locational origin for either of two places called Whaley i.e. Whaley in Cheshire and in Derbyshire, or from Whalley in Lancashire. The first named, recorded as Weyeleye in the 1284 Pipe Rolls of that county is so called from the Olde English pre 7th century 'weg' meaning a track or path, plus 'leah', a clearing. The latter two derived their first element from the Olde English 'hwealf', translating variously as 'vault, arch or hill', plus 'leah', a clearing. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century, (see below). The Will of Edmund Walley of Blackburn was recorded at Chester in 1592. One Henry Walley is listed in the Parish Register of St. James in the Virginia Colony in December 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de (of) Walleg, which was dated 1185 - The Pipe Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry II, The Builder of Churches, 1154 - 1189. 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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