This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places in England named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "west", west (a widespread element in placenames), and "leah, leage", usually translating as "grove, glade, clearing in a wood", though the specialized sense of "water meadow" or "low-lying meadow" is also found. Places thus named include: Westley, a parish in West Suffolk, recorded as "Westlea" in the Domesday Book of 1086; two hamlets called Westley in Shropshire, and one near Winchester in Hampshire; also Westley (Waterless) near Newmarket in Cambridgeshire, entered as "Westle" in Anglo-Saxon Wills Records, dated 1043. Places called Westleigh in Devonshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Lancashire, are also named from the same elements. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Adam de Westeleg (Lancashire, 1242), and Richard de Westleye (Warwickshire, 1332). On September 27th 1563, Elinor, daughter of Edward Westley, was christened at Bubbenhall, Warwickshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Westley family is a silver shield with a chevron between six billets in chief and three crosses crosslet fitchee in base all sable. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wlmar de Westle, which was dated circa 1095, in "Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, during the reign of King William 11, known as "Rufus", 1087 - 1100. 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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