This name is of English origins. It is from either of the villages of Whaley in the counties of Cheshire and Derbyshire, or from the town of Whalley in Lancashire. The first named, recorded as Weyeleye in the Pipe Rolls of that county in 1284, is so called from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'weg' meaning a track or path, plus 'leah', meaning a fenced farm or a clearing in a forest. The latter two derived their first element from the Olde English 'hwealf', translating variously as vault, arch or hill, and again with 'leah', and first recorded in the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles in the year 798 a.d.The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century, (see below), and early examples of the recordings include Edmund Walley of Blackburn in Lancashire, whose will was recorded at the city of Chester in 1592, whilst Henry Whalley is listed in the parish register of St. James City, in the Virginia colony of New England, in December 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Walleg. This was dated 1185 in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry IInd of England, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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