This most interesting name is of English locational origin, deriving from "Windley", a place in Derbyshire, three miles south-west of Belper, which was recorded as "Winleg" in the Derbyshire Charters of 1251 and "Wynleye" in 1297 in the Inquisitiones post mortem. The place gets its name from the old English pre 7th Century words "winn", meaning "meadow or pasture" and "leah", meaning glade, clearing in a forest. On August 18th 1560, one Barbara Wanley was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate, London, while a George Wanley was christened here also on March 21st 1562. On September 21st 1600 Ann Wyndley married Thomas Fysher at Suffield, Derbyshire and William son of Robert Wyndley at Kedleston on March 22nd 1603. Nathaniel Wanley (1634 - 1680) was educated at Cambridge in 1657 and published "The Wonders of the Little World", an anecdotal treatise on mankind in 1678. Humfrey Wanley (1672 - 1726) went to Oxford, 1695, afterwards preparing a catalogue of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts 1700 and was librarian to the 1st and 2nd Earls of Oxford. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Windley, which was dated July 11th 1547, (marriage to Annes Willson at Morley, Derbyshire), during the reign of King Edward V1, "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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