Recorded as Webley, Weobley, Wheable, Webell, Wheble, Whebell, and others, this is an English surname. It is locational from a place called Weobley, near the town of Hereford, in the county of Herefordshire on the Welsh Borders. The place is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Wibelai', and in the Fees Court Rolls of the county in the year 1250 as 'Webbel'. The name means 'the wood or glade of Wibba'. This was a well known Old English pre 7th century personal name of uncertain etymology but may be from 'weoh' meaning good or holy, with 'leah', a clearing in a wood used for agriculture. Locational surnames were acquired especially by former inhabitants of a place, who moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. Spelling being at best indifferent and local dialects very thick, often lead, as with this name, to the development of unusual variants some far removed from the original form. The surname development as recorded in surviving registers of the city of London includes: Webla in 1560, Wheable in 1616, Wheble 1693, Wheebell 1737, and Webell in 1746. The first recorded spelling of the family name in surviving church records may be that of Bettresse Webley. This was dated August 8th 1552, at the famous church of St. Margaret's Westminster, during the reign of King Edward V1th of England, and known to history as 'The Boy King', 1547 - 1553.
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