This is an English locational surname. It originates from the little village of Wardley in the county of Rutland, England's smallest county. First recorded as 'Werlea' in manuscripts in the year 1067, the year following the battle of Hastings and the conquest of England, it appears to translate as 'Watch farm' although there is some doubt. Many places do have names associated with look out posts such as Wardlow in Derbyshire, but 'Werlea' may also originate from the pre 7th century word 'weorf' meaning cattle or perhaps more logically 'waer' meaning a weir. This is found in the town name of Wareham, the homestead by the weir. Weirs were certainly popular river features as they enabled the building of water mills, as well as providing sluices to allow barges and other river craft to be hauled up river. The surname is not recorded in Rutland at all, which is quite normal for locational names, and is well recorded in the city of London since Elizabethan times. Perhaps the earliest recording is that of John Wardley who married Agnes Weaver at St Pancras Old Church on July 25th 1599.
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