This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Whalley in Lancashire or Whaley in Derbyshire. The place in Lancashire was recorded as "Hwaelleage" in the 798 Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, and as "Wallei" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the place in Derbyshire was recorded as "Walley" in the 1230 Pipe Rolls. Both places share the same meaning and derivation, which is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hwealf", vault, arch, hill, with "leah", wood, clearing; hence "clearing by a hill". In some cases the surname may also be from Whaley in Cheshire, recorded as "Weyeleye" in the Post Mortem Register (1284), which has as its first element the Olde English "weg", path, road; hence "road by the clearing". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below), and can also be found as Waley, Walley and Whaley. Robert de Walley is listed in the 1230 Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire. On November 24th 1556, Elizabethe, daughter of George Whalley, was christened at Allhallows, Bread Street, London, and on July 20th 1593 Ann Whaley married Raffe Hochnell at Frodsham church, Cheshire, whilst Jone Whalley married John Eldred on February 17th 1570, at St. Michael's, Cornhill, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Whalley family is a silver shield with a black chevron between three black whales' heads erased, the Crest being a black whale's head erect and erased. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Walleg, which was dated 1185, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "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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